The Impossible Question – When Was the Moment You Became a Great Leader?

In Simon Sinek’s video, Inspirational Speech About Love, Sinek shares the critical importance of consistency in the development of extraordinary leaders and their impact on those whom they serve. He begins his discussion with a question to his guest: “Do you love your wife?”  “Yes,” answers his guest. Sinek quickly responds:

“Prove it. Like what’s the metric? Give me the number that helps me know, because when you met her, you didn’t love her. Right, now you love her. Tell me the day that love happened. It’s an impossible question. But it’s not that it doesn’t exist. It’s that it is much easier to prove over time. Leadership is the same thing. It’s about transitions.

“So if you were to go to the gym, it’s like exercise. If you go to the gym and you work out and you come back and look in the mirror, you will see nothing. And if you go to the gym the next day and you come back and look in the mirror, you will see… nothing. So, clearly there are no results, can’t be measured, it must not be effective. So we quit. Or, if you fundamentally believe this is the right course of action and you stick with it, like in a relationship – I bought her flowers and wished her a happy birthday, and she doesn’t love me – clearly I’ll give up.

“That’s not what happens if you believe there’s something there. You commit yourself to an act of service. You commit yourself to the regime, the exercise. You can screw it up. You can eat chocolate cake one day, and you can skip a day or two. It allows for that. But, if you stick with it consistently, I am not exactly sure what day, but I know you will start getting into shape. I know it. And the same with the relationship. It is not about the events. It’s not about intensity. It’s about consistency.

Sinek states that leadership is sometimes treated with intensity, i.e., “We have a two-day offsite. We invite a bunch of speakers. We give everybody a certificate. You’re a leader!”  It is not about intensity. He argues that leadership development is about consistency: the “accumulation of all those little things” that we do and say, how we behave, the attitude that we hold and the face we give to the world and those whom we serve.

Consistency can be thought of in terms of training. We learn the things we need to know. Then we train in their execution… consistently… that we ultimately internalize the learning. There is no one event; there is no one thing that great leaders do that makes them great. It is a life’s journey, one of consistently doing those small innocuous things that paint a magnificent mosaic of our leadership. Yes, leadership is an everyday thing. As Tony Robbins said: “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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2 Responses to The Impossible Question – When Was the Moment You Became a Great Leader?

  1. Jack Beach says:

    “There is no one event; there is no one thing that great leaders do that makes them great. It is a life’s journey, one of consistently doing those small innocuous things that paint a magnificent mosaic of our leadership.” What a wonderful insight.

    Being at the age when listening to eulogies is no longer infrequent, it is my observation that the impact we have on others is seldom, if ever, the result of well-crafted words or well-considered actions. Rather, they are the outcome of the seemingly insignificant words and deeds done at the right moment with no awareness on the part of the doer that something special has occurred but which manifested who that individual was as a person. Being a great leader or a great person is not about the performance of one or even a few triumphant, well-published, and highly celebrated acts, which may be only seconds, minutes, or even days in the making; but rather by a life defined by doing the seemingly ho-hum everyday-things of life, day in and day out, well.

  2. JH Shannon says:

    Well said, Jack … the impact of the small stuff is immeasurable, often not noticed in the moment and rarely recognized for its value …

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