“The leader can observe, contemplate, study, and speak-and in fact must do all of these well. But change only happens with action. Action is what we hear about, because without it, the message means nothing.” (Pearce & Komisar, 2013, p. 158)
One time, a woman came to Gandhi and asked him to tell her overweight son to stop eating sugar.
“Madam,” he replied, “come back in three weeks’ time.”
Surprised at this request, she nevertheless returned with her son three weeks later.
Gandhi looked at the boy and said, “Stop eating sugar.”
When the boy had left the room, the mother turned to Gandhi and asked why he hadn’t said this three weeks ago.
Gandhi replied, “Madam, three weeks ago I myself was eating sugar.” (Owen, 2001, p. 14)
In Gandhi’s words: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him…” (Morton, 2011)
To summarize, only when you know how to lead yourself influentially will you then know how to lead others. In “The Leadership Challenge” the readers are introduced to the author’s point of view about leadership. They highlight their leadership model, “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership”. “When getting extraordinary things done in organizations, leaders engage in Five Practices that are available to anyone who accepts the leadership challenge:
- Model the Way
- Inspire a Shared Vision
- Challenge the Practice
- Enable Others to Act
- Encourage the Heart” (James & Barry, 2012)
The Five Practices are all action based and from the personal application of those practices I have been able to see the change in myself and lead others to change their story. My dreams, as a leader to myself and others, became true because of the actions I have taken without any fear trying something new, experimenting, and taking upon myself new challenges and risks.
James, K., & Barry, P. Z. (2012). The Leadership Challenge (5 ed.). New York City, United States: Wiley.
Morton, B. (2011). Falser Words Were Never Spoken. New York: Bronxville, N.Y. Retrieved June 20, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/opinion/falser-words-were-never-spoken.html?_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha212
Owen, N. (2001). The magic of metaphor: 77 stories for teachers, trainers & thinkers. Carmarthen: Crown House.
Pearce, T., & Komisar, R. (2013). Leading Out Loud: A Guide for Engaging Others in Creating the Future (3d Edition ed.). San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.