Several months ago, I was asked to write an article about leadership. More specifically: what does our core value of leadership mean from a perspective of support for our goal of excellence?
The assignment has not been easy, and I have spent many nights, and some parts of the day, in contemplative thought about what leadership means to me on a personal level, as well as what I feel the value means as a component of our organization.
Let me start first by asking a rhetorical question.
What is an essential component you seek in a leader, and what have you found that fits that intrinsic definition?
It’s hard to answer, I know. It’s much easier to describe what you have experienced with poor leadership and the lessons that came with that experience.
For me, leadership is a multifaceted, daily and deliberate accountability to serve. To serve others. To serve a purpose and, yes, to serve yourself with constant evaluation and reflection on those activities.
Seneca once wrote, “You must live for others if you want to live for yourself.”
The statement is both profound but also a little fuzzy.
Let me clarify;
When you place yourself in the service of others, you accept that we all suffer from the same condition; we are fallible. We make mistakes. We have strengths but also weaknesses. When you place yourself in the service of others, you must see that the actions you take not only set the stage for whatever comes next but also be mindful of those around you.
We are constantly evaluating the impact of the current and those effects on the future.
When we choose leadership, we also select accountability and responsibility for ourselves, our clients, our team, and, in the larger context, our community.
Service is a calling that evolves individuals into leaders because it is only in the service of others that we can truly know ourselves.
I had the opportunity to be a guest on a podcast earlier this year, and the host asked a simple question to start the interview; What keeps you up at night?
I’m thankful that I knew the question ahead of time, but the answer didn’t come to me initially because it’s deep. The question itself seems benign, simple, but that’s the trick. Only after considerable reflection was I able to answer with a deserving response.
My answer? The ongoing evaluation of action.
Am I doing the right thing?
Are we serving clients the way they want to be served in a way that they feel value for our efforts?
Are we doing the right things, taking up the right causes, and focusing on important activities, not just for today but also for tomorrow?
Are we setting the correct precedent?
That’s what leadership is—guiding today for tomorrow and applying grace to the failures allowing us to turn newly gained wisdom into a source of strength.
At times, it’s being alone, with all the virtues you hold close to your heart, deliberately placing yourself into the unknown to stand for something, and realizing the compass still needs your attention for all to stay on course.
It’s in the service of others that we find ourselves, but also we find our commonality, purpose, and way due to the personal reflection required of the station.
Leadership is, therefore, not an activity, a trait, or even a series of descriptive words but an ongoing commitment to serve those within your charge with all the capacity you can muster. To make your actions and activities speak for themselves. To make things a little better than they were the day before.
In Latin- Acta non-Verba: Actions not words.
LAPLANTE CORE VALUES
Service • Leadership • Accountability • Authenticity • Commitment • Teamwork • Respect • Excellence