Being a leader is a unique trait to possess, but simply being a leader is not good enough. You see, you have those who stand behind the group wanting to lead, and you have those who are in the front of the line actually leading. For example, when warriors went to war and fought, the generals would typically lead the pack and fight with their brothers by their side. In my opinion, those are examples of true leaders because they were willing to die for their brothers in battle.
“Remember that it is the actions, and not the commission, that make the officer, and that there is more expected from him than the title.” – George Washington
George Washington was known for leading the United States into battle at the tipping point of this young country, the American Revolution. His character, energy, experiences and courage are what made him one of America’s greatest leaders. George Washington was known as a visionary leader. He had vision rather than seeing simply the world in front of him. This vision and his passion were unwavering in the face of the certain British destruction before him. Washington was skillful. His vision led others to follow him in pursuit of this great vision. More than that, he was able to instill the ideals, beliefs, and values behind his vision to the point that his followers were not focused only on their leader, but their individual futures.
Fast forward to modern day, and apply it to the great athletes we see today. Athletes are accepting of development toward success. Teams routinely get their players to buy in to a rebuild in exchange for the hope of a championship future. A great example of this is last year’s Houston Astros. They were a young team, led by veteran players, who would fuel that team toward an eventual championship.
Jeff Luhnow believed that players like Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann (who each have 10+ years of big league experience) would be able to lead the young group of players to the World Series. We take someone like Jose Altuve, a player who is 5’6” in stature and was told his entire life that he would never make it to the MLB. Well, he did make it. Then, he made the Astros roster. He was on teams that lost over 100 games in a season! All of that seems like a distant memory today. Altuve was a huge part of a World Series Championship team – the first in Houston’s history. He was also named the American League’s Most Valuable Player.
Altuve had to work hard to get where he is now, but he had a vision of winning a World Series. He knew that making it to the highest stage, and winning the World Series, was not going to be an easy task. Altuve shares the same qualities that Washington possessed. He is a leader. He takes charge of the group, and he leads by example. You see that in him. You see that he has the character, the charisma, and the respect of those around him. He leads the team right into battle day-in and day-out by hustling hard on and off the field, performing in big moments, and he has 25 teammates who trust him to go out there to lead the team to another World Series title.
“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”
– John Wooden
So, my question to you is this: Are you the type of leader to be at the back of the line telling people what to do? Or are you the person at the front of the line leading your team into battle day-in and day-out?