Secrets of the Spotlight

Tabitha, a member of the Leadership Freak Facebook page says, “I’d like to see what you think of the phrase, ‘Lead from the front.’”

Leaders that can’t lead from the front can’t lead.

For much of my leadership career I’ve done a few things right and many things wrong. Even though I spent plenty of time in the front, I didn’t lead from the front.

You may embrace the servant-leader model, I do. However, if you aren’t alert, humble servant-leadership wrongly translates into passivity, comfort, weakness, even running from the spotlight.

Stepping into the spotlight

Bold leaders inevitably lead from the front.  They are the face of an organization or movement.

Leading from the front includes:

  • Casting compelling vision
  • Exercising positive influence
  • Leading meetings
  • Working through resistance
  • Solving conflicts
  • Fueling forward momentum
  • Establishing positive tone
  • Building organizational confidence

Leading from the front requires alignment with organizational values, mission, and vision. Alignment:

  • Authorizes leaders to step into the spotlight
  • Enables decision-making
  • Energizes servant-leaders

Leaders not aligned with organizational values, mission, and vision abuse their position, power, and constituents. Alignment is the foundation of your right to step into the spotlight.

The secret of the spotlight

Successfully leading from the front is an expression of profound humility. Submitting to organizational values, mission, and vision is the secret to success in the spotlight. Submission legitimizes leadership power, the deeper the submission the greater the power.

Note: the juxtaposition of power and humility is intentional.

The down side of the front

Stepping into the spotlight exposes servant-leaders to praise and criticism. Both are dangerous. Praise may inflate the leader’s ego and create envy in others. Criticism may demoralize and eventually defeat. In either case, the answer remains, obedience to higher principles authorizes servant-leaders to step into the spotlight and lead from the front.

What skills and behaviors help leaders successfully lead from the front?