Define your leadership responsibilities

May 16, 2024 By     0 Comments

What does it mean to be a leader?

Some could say that as a leader you always have to be better than your highest-performing direct report. If you are not, then you are not the leader; you are a follower.

Others would say that it is a leader’s responsibility to surround themselves with a team that is more educated, driven and experienced in specific areas other than themselves, to create the strongest possible team made up of the best possible players.

In either situation, you, as the leader, must strengthen something. Whether it is your own skillsets to maintain your status at the top of the food chain or your skills to identify, collect and direct team members stronger than yourself. Either way, you have to do the work, the heavy lifting. That is your job as a leader. Clear the path, make the way, and offer direction for those in your charge.

As Stephen Covey taught, we need to make sure that we “sharpen the saw.” But in a fast-paced world of work, family, traveling, industry commitments, social media, and on and on, how do we start? Where does the time come from to improve ourselves?

My recommendation is to start in your own head. Sit, think, reflect, be still, be quiet. It may feel weird at first, but I believe that your mind has the ability to solve most of its own problems; you just need to give it the time and the grace to do so.

When I say think, I don’t mean overthink; I mean productive think.

Take past or near-future scenarios and play them out in your mind’s eye with different decision points and outcomes. Or, if you already know the desired outcome, play different scenarios in your mind for overcoming objections or obstacles that you may have to navigate to get to your outcome. That process of critical evaluation of an objective or outcome is where true thought originates.

Your own mind is your best AI, your best supercomputer that can produce the best results for you once you learn to hone that skill and harness the power that it already possesses.

What does all that brain talk have to do with being a leader? As a leader, your mind is your strength. Your brain is your sword and shield.

That ability to sharpen your greatest asset and focus its efforts on the problem at hand, or the issue on the horizon, is what separates you, the leader, from the rest of the team. You need to know what the next step is – and the steps after that. That is why you are the leader. You see the future, you have contemplated the outcomes of a thousand scenarios, and you win either way because you know the obstacles. Your mind identified the desired objective and, through careful thinking, played out a million ways that it can go poorly or go very well.

Sharpen that saw, use that tool, and be a leader.

Let’s work on your upgrade.

Aaron Huizenga is East Division manager for Lakes Gas in Wisconsin. Reach him at

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Blue Flame Blog, Current Issue, From the Magazine

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