I had a conversation with a friend last week and he made a powerful distinction. We spoke about the difference between being a hero or a leader. I immediately drew the parallel to Fight-Club’s 10 year legacy thanks to a great leader.
Everyone wants to be the hero. The hero single handedly holds forces of evil at bay with ease and finesse. The hero is exalted for his extraordinary accomplishments by incompetent citizens and thus holds a position at the centre of the world. Take the hero out of the picture and the universe is flung into chaos. The people have depended so long on the hero that they do not have the skills or understanding to keep their world from going into disarray.
A leader on the other hand understands that nothing can be accomplished without a cohesive community. It takes the effort and synergy of a whole group working together to make a substantial vision attainable. The leader teaches and guides individuals of his team to reach beyond their current potential. Rather than try to control people and outcomes, he sets a tone and creates a space where great things can manifest. If the leader steps out of the picture, the power of their work carries on beyond them. They have created something bigger than themselves.
We often live our lives with the perspective of the hero, viewing our lives as a story. We feel we are the protagonists of our lives and we have to single handedly survive our lives to finally reach the end. Whew! The hero is an example of ego-centric viewpoint, and it is a very limited by nature. In reality, it only serves the illusion that the hero has about him or herself. The leader, on the other hand, expresses true leadership. A true leader has a broad perspective where every individual is honoured and treated equally.
Leadership is challenging because the rewards are expansive and bountiful, but not always clear. The impact of the leader creates exponential shock-waves in the world, as the people he touches become leaders themselves. The leader guides others by his manner, words, and actions; he or she displays integrity, humility and persistence. There are no screaming fans for the leader, but a great deal of unspoken appreciation.
by Michael M