Out of curiosity, I went to Amazon online and searched under the title “leadership books.”
I guess I was moderately surprised that there were over 200,000 possible choices. Being an avid student of leadership for over ten years now, I have read extensively on this subject (not quite 200,000 books!) and if my experience is reliable, I can confidently state that if there are over 200,000 leadership books in print, there are an equal number of opinions regarding the principles of leadership.
My point is that students of leadership can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material pertaining to this subject: “Which leadership style should I adopt?” “Which leadership principles apply to my size business?” “How do I know that I am really leading?” All of these are valid questions that become recurring thoughts for aspiring leaders. Furthermore, the answers are so numerous that we may become the victims of paralysis by analysis. There is simply too much to digest.
Having personally suffered through this leadership dilemma, I have discovered one common theme that has served me well. What I have found is that, underlying this massive volume of scholarly opinion, there is one unifying concept and that concept is “abundance.” Everything else is simply commentary. People who live their life through abundance are natural born leaders, while aspiring leaders who dismiss the philosophy of abundance are doomed to struggle.
The concept of abundance versus scarcity was explained to me like this…Imagine a freshly baked pie. The abundant leader believes that there is enough pie for everyone to enjoy. On the other hand, the leader who lives through scarcity (the opposite of abundance) covets the entire pie, believing that sharing would only diminish their portion. The difference is that scarcity diminishes the potions for everyone, while abundance keeps making pies for others to enjoy.
An Abundant Leader believes the following:
- My Purpose is to Make Those Around Me Successful: This is perhaps their most distinguishing characteristic. Abundant leaders succeed by making others successful. The philosophy of enlightened self interest states that we do well by doing good. Abundant leaders are proof of this statement.
- I Succeed Through Others: They thrive in a team environment and take others with them on their journey, as opposed to scarcity leaders who are happy to go it alone.
- I Am a Catalyst: They believe that by lighting a spark they can ignite others. This brings them their greatest joy.
- I Can Lead from Behind: Scarcity leaders are always out in front coveting the glory and praise. Abundant leaders are the support team that allows others to step forward into the spotlight.
- Those I Lead are Capable: Abundant leaders believe that those they serve are capable and worthy of success. Scarcity leaders believe that they alone are capable and worthy of success.
The philosophy of abundance encompasses the major principles of successful leadership, without regard to any specific industry or size of the organization. What proves difficult for those that have not yet embraced abundance is that it is much more than a philosophy. It is, in fact, a way of life. Abundance is not something that we can superficially embrace. It is how we view the world. It is who we are.