If you have your car radio tuned to a station that plays pop music, these words have filled your car a time….or ten…
I’m the one. I’m the only one.
Justin Bieber isn’t singing a song about leadership, but he sure could be! I’m willing to bet you’ve told yourself more times than you can count, “I’m the only one.”
I’ve felt like I’m the only one far more times than I want to admit. We think saying it gives us some kind of badge of honor to wear…like it’s a good thing to be alone. Maybe in years past leaders were supposed to be up on a pedestal, far from anyone else, shouldering all the responsibility and all of the credit.
But that’s not the world we live in today.
Today we see the value of investing in others to accomplish greater things than we could ever accomplish on our own. So let’s tackle the lie – once and for all.
There are three ways this lie manifests itself:
I’m the only one who is struggling with this.
You’ve heard yourself say it this way:
- I’m the only one who isn’t good enough to lead.
- I’m the only one who is trying to juggle my personal life and my professional life to this scale.
- I’m the only one who feels inadequate.
- I’m the only one whose team is hard to work with.
- I’m the only one who can’t seem to gain momentum.
I’m the only one with the ability.
This one is more dangerous, because we can fool ourselves into thinking they are healthy thoughts. These thoughts feed our ego, so we like them.
- I’m the only one who knows how to do this task.
- I’m the only one who is really leading around here.
- I’m the only one keeping us all together.
- I’m the only one people can trust or come to.
I’m the only one who is responsible for this.
This lie comes from that antiquated mindset that leaders are the ones who are supposed to do it all. If you choose to be the one who does all of the tasks, not only will you have no time or energy left to lead, but I believe you are robbing someone else of an opportunity. You may be robbing them of the opportunity to grow, to learn, or even to safely fail.
Leaders don’t need to do it all, but they do need to be willing to do it all.
See the difference?
Leaders are not supposed to be really loyal, productive do-ers. Leaders, by definition, should lead others to accomplish the things they’ve been gifted to do.
Stop falling prey to the biggest lie in leadership.
Seek out other leaders, and help each other through your struggles – you’ll quickly realize you’re not alone.
Invest in your team. Choose to empower and equip them to accomplish great things.
If we can banish this lie, we will change our world.