As we journey into our futures, we have a vital choice to make on how we interact with other people. When we start our journey as an adult, we are taught how to be producers, people who do the rank and file work of the day to day. In time, we might aspire and achieve becoming a manager, someone who makes sure that the producers are producing what they should be. These are the people that are responsible for making sure that the pieces all fall into place. This is the point where many people stop and the point where many believe they have achieved what they are meant to achieve. This is a mistake and one that we must acknowledge and grow past, to take hold of our future and make it what we want it to be. We need to be Leaders.
A leader is a person who sees the puzzle laid out in their mind’s eye and initiate the steps to create that puzzle in reality. This is a skill that we have to choose to learn, not something that will come naturally through time and effort as the transition from producer to manager will. That is because it requires a change in our state of mind, a change from how we see the world, learning to see the world we want to create and the path we need to create to have the world get there.
Try a metaphor to understand this. The people in our lives who swing the machete to clear a path through the jungle are the producers. They are told where to clear and how to clear by the managers who have been give instructions on how to create a road and are using the producer’s to create that road. In contrast, the leader is the person that sees that a road through this jungle will open trade between two major cities and allow both of them to flourish. It is the leader who has the vision that will change the world around them. They become the Why of an organization and create methods and practices that the managers follow to implement the journey.
In our lives, we have decided to reach our goals and have laid our plans and actions to do so. We are managing our lives at this point as we move forward into the futures. Yet we need to step away from the management role on frequent basis and step into a leader position in our lives and gauge if our path is still the right one for our vision.
We need to take the time and effort to reevaluate the practices that we gave our manager selves and make sure that they are keeping us on the path. If we never step back into the leader position, there is every likelihood that we will find ourselves cutting a road through the wrong jungle.