So….you are in a football stadium, watching a game. In the first half, one team is playing so badly. They have good players yet they are not quite getting it. You can not understand why they were so ragged. Then the half time whistle goes, and you look back at the last 45 minutes and you can’t see what went wrong.
The teams come out in the second half, and your team, ragged as they were in the first half, start playing well. They are running with purpose, with determination; chasing down every ball and making a real fight of it.
And you are up there wondering – what changed? Where did they get this performance from all of a sudden? Why did they not turn up with this kind of performance in the first half?
What you don’t see is what happened behind the scenes, in the dressing room at half time. A player or two, taking it upon themselves to march round the crowded dressing room, slapping shoulders and looking into team mates’ eyes and saying ‘ come on boys! What are we doing?’. Looking angry. Looking determined – and speaking out.
And you are there asking – is he the captain? More often than not, he probably is not. But he cares, and he wants to carry his teammates along.
It is called leadership.
Another scenario – your team is not doing so well. You have great players but it is not quite working out. You have won things in the recent past yet it is not looking like the same team. The manager has a few issues. It is affecting the dressing room. Manager leaves, a new one is hired.
You have a game in a few days, and your team marches out to play the game; first game under a new manager, and they produce a scintillating performance.
And you are there asking – what was that all about? Where did that performance come from? Same team, same set of players, different performance, different result.
It is leadership.
There is a leader in all of us. Some of us are vocal leaders. We want to be at the helm….at the top. And we want to direct from the top. We believe we need to be at the top to effect change and get good results.
Others though, are silent leaders. Silent in the sense that they are very passive, do not say much, but when they do, it makes a big difference.
At the head of a team, we don’t just need leaders – we need IMPACTFUL leaders.
And there is the key word – IMPACTFUL.
We all aspire to be leaders in our own right. When you are in a team in your sector on the job front, you aspire to be promoted and to be made Manager. You go on a coaching course because you want to become a Head Coach and Manager. You go into politics of the nation, your local community or your federation wanting to become the top – the head; the top gun.
But what kind of leader can we be? An impactful leader is what we want.
We have many people who claim to be leaders but who are not effective, and hence not impactful. Leaders who cannot lead by example. Leaders dominated by greed, power-hungry tendencies, petty malicious attitude and a stark inability to make positive changes and have a positive impact.
In my experience in football, I have seen it from the lowest level of club academies amongst youngsters, to the levels of management and even to the very top of football associations and confederations and even all the way up to the global level – at FIFA.
Getting to the top by whatever means is no guarantee of impact-driven leadership. And the world we live in needs that. Because we have to see that the youth coming behind is looking up to us to provide leadership and example on how to be impactful leaders.
And leadership is truly an inbred thing – starts from within. The leader in you, I call it. Being a leader within yourself. Seeing yourself as that person who can impact results, performance and positivity.
And I keep saying – there is a leader in each and every one of us.
We are leaders of our respective families. Some are leaders of their respective teams at work. Some are leaders in business. And some are leaders in even bigger settings.
But the first leader we need to be, as a starting point, is a leader of our personal self.
Taking control is leadership. And control starts from within. Control of our inner being, to seek ways through which the best and only the best can come. Self-appraisal in an objective way is a good start. Being a leader starts from taking control of oneself. Addressing issues within oneself and making an impact on oneself on a path to positive growth, improvement and overall ultimate success.
If you can be a good leader in yourself, then you are setting the pace for becoming an impactful leader in whatever sector you find yourself.
So it is important that in whatever you do, always remember that no man or woman was born to be a leader; while no man or woman was born to be a follower.
There is a leader in every single one of us, and the task for you from today, going forward, is to find, at first, the leader in YOU.