The Leadership Picture

Today I saw a few pictures that really made me think. At the time of this writing, Ukraine is being attacked by Russia. I saw many photos of military activity, fathers crying as they send their children off while they stay and fight a way, crowds of protesters around the world pleading for help and many photos that make you think. This blog isn’t about the war or unnecessary casualties that will become of it. What I want to write about is leadership. During times of crisis, leaders are those that rise to the occasion and lead through action.

The picture that stood out to me was a picture of the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, wearing a helmet, military camouflage, bullet proof vest while holding a machine gun. I couldn’t help but think that this is what leadership looks like. Rather than cowering away and hiding behind a protective fortress far away from danger. He was right there with his soldiers as Russia invaded. The reality is that when times are tough and uncertainty is high, a crisis will cause mass panic. It is at that time that people turn to their leader for a clear vision of what lies ahead. The leader creates and paints a picture that will either inspire and produce the passion to carry on or indicate dark times ahead. I don’t know what the outcome will be but seeing a leader in this modern day, fight for his country alongside thousands of soldiers willing to put their lives on the line, is a shining example of a leader who is painting a clear picture to his people. He is saying, “I am here with you. This fight is our fight and I will die for what I believe in.” Without saying a word, that picture inspires people to fight for something they believe in regardless of the uncertain outcome. 

In the book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell, he highlights how followers are always watching what you are doing. Like children, people do what people see. If they see bravery, they become brave. The most frustrating thing that followers can see is a leader who paints a picture that is contradictory to what they are preaching. Norman Vincent Peale once said “Nothing is more confusing than people who give good advice but set a bad example.” The same can be said about great leaders. John Maxwell says “Nothing is more convincing than people who give good advice and set a good example.

Everyone is a leader. You don’t need to lead an army but at the very least, you must lead yourself. So ask yourself, what picture am I creating for my followers to see? 

The best thing you can do as a leader is to set an example for your followers to emulate and set an example for the type of leader you want to become.

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