Last week, the title of my 411 post was “About Last Week…”

Darn, if I had only waited a week!  What a week just passed! Our country moved into new territory.

The Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Affordable Care Act. After so much harsh vitriol, and strong failed efforts to get rid it, we move forward.

Then…

The Supreme Court of the United States gave every one of us the constitutional guarantee to marry – for love – period. We side stepped the religiously enmeshed arguments, maintained our fortitude, and moved forward again.

Then…

President Barack Obama, in a demonstration of extraordinary leadership, sang Amazing Grace in front of hundreds of mourners in Charleston, SC. His grace and confidence in doing so, IMHO, was magnificent.  We have seen him sing before in more casual circumstances. But oh boy! …do I love the idea of a leader (especially a world-stage leader!) bringing forward their personal character with strength and ease in order to serve up what the audience needs.

I wanted to see how many US presidents have sung like Obama does. Some played instruments, but they really don’t sing. So here’s a fun fact: Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, was nearly always found humming a tune, or singing to himself. But most leaders just don’t sing in front of hundreds of people.

OK, I digress…The idea of leadership, it’s definition, can’t be one-size-fits-all. Generally, it’s the act of guiding or directing a group. But if that group ain’t going with you, there’s no guiding or directing to be had.

Sometimes leadership means stating the way things will be based on all the facts available (SCOTUS). Sometimes it’s being led by example (A US President singing).

The key to true leadership includes the fact that others trust and ‘follow’ you.

Have you seen it?  If you have, you know it’s part “tell it like it is” and part “lead by example.” But the important part is the lead by example part because expectations are being set all the time.

I once worked for a guy who was not a leader. On a good day, everything went well. We worked as team, made plans based on common ground and progressed. On a bad day, everything went wrong. All those plans got junked up, pushed back and stalled.

No predictions could be made about how the group would progress. We were stuck between a rock and hard place to make any great strides. It was only a matter of time before things began to unravel, and they did.

We won’t get very far if we only tell, tell, tell but no one follows. It won’t do any good to hold ourselves in rigid defense against the outside world.

In order to be a true leader you have to have followers. In order to have followers people need to trust you. People will trust you when you embrace your unique gifts, your weirdness, your strengths, your weaknesses, and the whole of YOU. Like a piece of great art, you’ll know when you see it!

Building trust is critical for your growth into leadership. Not ego or bullying, but humility and empathy. I’ve seen many people confuse the concepts.

It could go either way, but as a leader your ability to own your personal character, your essential self, with strength and ease is a beautiful thing! It will allow you to become a phenomenal leader wherever you find yourself.

But it’s on you. Only you can decide how to show up. The response to that is beyond your control.

When you can master this mix, maybe even you could belt out a tune in front of hundreds of onlookers!

President Obama certainly had a lot to sing about last week!

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