When John C. Maxwell said, “everything rises and falls on leadership,” he was sharing a valid truth about leadership.
Maxwell, with these words, drew the weight of responsibility for either the success or failure of any venture on its leadership. He said the full weight of these words might not be obvious until one counts the cost of leadership.
What are the costs of leadership? What is required of any leader to lead a group of people?
The costs of leadership are multivariate. Leadership demands the time, broad shoulders, listening ears, time, efforts, sacrifices, and clear vision of leaders. All of these demands are non-negotiable, and if any of them is unavailable, it leaves a gaping hole that could cause the ship to sink.
A leader’s first task is not to find followers but to define their success, i.e., what they want to achieve. After defining your success, the next step is to determine what will be required to reach your identified success.
Next, a leader is expected to figure out people with the right skills, intellect, and strength to help them reach their desired success.
Leadership is a great deal of sacrifice, with many moving parts that must run smoothly at the same time. It is not barking orders and urging people to get the job done, while you go on and grab a seat.
A leader is like the major component of a machine where other parts of the machine lean on. As the major component of a machine is expected to be well-oiled in order to function adequately, a leader is also expected to be abreast of the latest and novel developments in their field of endeavors in order to always earn and deserve his respect without demanding for it. This is very important because the moment a leader begins to demand respect from his followers, then his leadership is already being questioned by the followers, and in no time, his failures and insecurities will become apparent to all and sundry.
A leader must help their followers articulate and understand their vision so that their followers will not only run with the vision but also take the vision as their personal vision.
This does not mean that a leader should push responsibility off their neck, but they should take on the rest of the demands of the necks of their followers.
A leader must be the first follower who, through his actions, commitment to duty, and diligence, gives his followers the mandate to take a cue from. As the first port of call, a leader should know that every action counts and he would equally be the first to bear the brunt for every failure.
A leader is the biggest servant in any group, and true to Maxwell’s words, everything does rise and fall on leadership.