The Difference Between Idea and Opportunity Leadership
Good leaders share ideas, but exceptional leaders facilitate opportunities. Leaders who constantly have to be the idea person, center of attention, or “credit hog” will rob their team of opportunities to:
Gordon Leidner in his book, The Leadership Secrets of Hamilton, addresses this concisely when he says,
“The art of turning followers into leaders encompasses more than the development of vision statements. You must treat your followers as leaders in order to develop leaders.”
- Selfless Spirit – Opportunity leaders care less about who gets the credit and more about the individuals on the team. Opportunity leaders contribute for the good of the team not for personal glory.
- Knowledge – You will need to know the qualities and qualifications of each team member. Knowing who they are, what they can do, and what role they each play on the team will afford you the power to provide them strategic opportunities.
- Teachable Spirit – Exceptional leaders are teachable and are never hung-up by flowcharts. They are willing to learn from everyone. By the way, in order to be teachable, you must be a good listener.
- Flexibility – To foster growth opportunities, opportunity leaders have to be willing to flex. I am not talking about flexing your principles—but your preferences.
- Authenticity – You cannot pretend to lead your team with opportunities when in reality you are manipulating them with your personal preferences. You will have to be authentic or this process will be an exercise in futility.
Opportunity leadership is superior to idea leadership, but it is not always easy to practice. This is a lifestyle that deals with our character. It is not just the performance of a duty, but it is actually a window into the DNA of our soul.
“Opportunity Leadership” requires a core commitment while “Idea Leadership” is superficial. We have to decide what type of leader we want to be. We also have to decide if we want to develop leaders around us or simply have groupies.