I stumbled across this quote from Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of Visa, when I was first starting to think about the transformative power of leadership in the organizations around me. I was in my first real managerial role at the time, and the truth embedded in these words struck me with the force of revelation. The quote influenced my thinking and behavior at the time, and triggered a series of events that profoundly shaped my life. I’m now passing it along in case it’s helpful to someone else:
Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time leading yourself — your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers. If you don’t understand that you work for your mislabeled “subordinates,” then you know nothing of leadership. You know only tyranny.