Leadership involves sacrifice – its not for the faint hearted

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I am currently putting together the pre-reading material for the first Young Farming Champions workshop for 2017.

This year we will be bringing together a cohort of twenty #youthinag determined to learn the techniques and have the knowledge to help lead transformational change to secure a prosperous and exciting future for the agriculture sector in Australia

When looking for wisdom Zoe Routh from Inner Compass never fails to provide great inspiration and food for thought for both me and our YFC cohort

What should you sacrifice as a leader?

As a global thinker and citizen, we ought to know what we would lay down our lives for. Is there anything for which you would make the ultimate sacrifice?

Sacrifice in leadership comes with the territory. It’s one of the main reasons that not everyone should lead others: sacrifice is a concept and action that requires great maturity and self-awareness. Not all are ready for this kind of surrender.

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What should we sacrifice as leaders?

Selfishness. One cannot be a leader if one is driven by selfishness. To be a leader, our thoughts are on those who would follow us and support the cause we all rally behind. Selfishness has no part to play here. The distinction should be made around the self-first concept. Self-sacrifice is martyrdom, and is not always necessary or helpful. Self-first as a concept is where we tend to our own needs (like sleep, rest, exercise, health, well-being) so there is more of us to give. We need to look after ourselves if we are to live to serve another day.

Invisibility. To lead is to make a stand, to be seen and heard for the sake of what we believe and who we serve. Invisibility keeps us hidden, inspiring no one and encouraging nothing. We do not need to lead from the front as a hero; what we do need is to be a visible and vocal presence of encouragement. We need to be seen to model what we believe. Integrity is when action reflects thought and words.

Fear of criticism. Actually, many fears need to be sacrificed: fear of making a mistake, of letting others down, of not living up to expectations, of being found wanting. As leaders, we will make mistakes, we will disappoint others, and we may find ourselves short of skill or capacity to do the job. Leadership is knowing all this, and doing our best anyway, because we believe that our petty fears are not enough to stand by and let what matters go unsupported. There is something bigger than us that calls us to sacrifice our fears.

Feeling like a fraud. Everyone has a first day on the job. We all needed to learn how to walk as babies. When we fell down as toddlers, did we feel like frauds as humans? The essence of our humanity is in getting up again and trying once more. The longing for growth and contribution is the fabric of leadership. At this altar we may leave the shackles of fraud.

Hope. Hope is an emotion for those who feel powerless and victims in life’s wake. It is for those who wait to be rescued. As leaders, we do not waste energy in a lament of hope; we forge our own path, seeking a way through turmoil with effort and focus. We can replace hope with determination, conviction, and grit.

What do you sacrifice as a leader? What is the cause that you dedicate your life to?

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2 thoughts on “Leadership involves sacrifice – its not for the faint hearted

  1. Dear Lynne. I taught leadership for over 30 years and some students became Extension Officers in State Dept. There are different approaches such as Characteristics of effective leaders which seems the approach you have taken. Leadership is about assisting a group to achieve their goals. If you are interested I can provide you my approach which has both Task and socio-emotional components.

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