There were some lyrics from a rock song many years ago that said, “Love is a battlefield.” Well, so is life. There is a war going on and we have to engage the enemy. And, as Pogo once said, “The enemy is us.”
Leadership has a built in mandate. You have to show up. Nobody will follow a leader who refuses to lead. Leadership means more than giving motivation. It is communicating clearly the direction that everyone is taking. It is casting vision, then stepping up, communicating strategy, then physically and personally leading. It is giving courage to all of the wounded to help them engage the enemy.
There is a big difference in leading from the front and leading from the back. When you lead from the front, your team or your family sees you and they get inspired from your personal commitment. They are looking for you to look the enemy in the eye (whatever it is: finances, broken relationships, competitors, or just your own negative thinking) and say “CHARGE.” Now if your finances are in bad shape…you might need to change the battle cry to “ATTACK.” LOL.
When does a team, family or an army for that matter need leadership the most? When the battle seems to be overwhelming them, they need leadership! They need a leader to help them focus, forget their wounds, pick up their bayonets if that is all they have left, re-group and attack the enemy.
If a leader is leading the charge, he or she is much more likely to have the team, family, or troops get out of the fox holes they are hiding in and engage the enemy. If you are leading a team, family, or an army, where are your troops? Are they hiding in the fox holes? Have they turned tail and run? Have they surrendered to the enemy? Don’t let them! They need you more than you know. Show up!
One of the greatest gifts you will ever give someone else is the gift of courage. People all around you are falling to the enemy. Give them courage! Don’t just tell them how. Show them how to win the battle. You can’t do that if you are hiding in a fox hole yourself, or even worse, YOU have surrendered to the enemy.
Go back and listen to some Winston Churchill recordings if you want to get recharged as a leader. When the bombs were falling all around him and the people of England he engaged the enemy head on. Here are just a few of his famous quotes:
- “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
- “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.”
- “You ask, ‘What is our policy?’ I will say; ‘It is to wage war by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.’ You ask, ‘What is our aim?’ I can answer with one word: ‘Victory.’ Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival. ”
- “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France. We shall fight on the seas and the oceans. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!”
- “Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fall, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, this was their finest hour!”
That, my friends, is leadership in action. Are you ready? Get out of the fox holes, grab your weapons, and CHARGE!