...now we'll step back and see who the real leaders are.
It's a simple test, really. You simply raise the bar and watch for those who work hard to get over it amongst everyone else who runs from it (or complains about it, or argues with it, or offers excuses against it).
It's called The Challenge Test. Gather a group of people who all claim to be excited and motivated and on board with the team and show them the mountain they have to climb, the problem they have to solve, and the level of excellence they're required to perform at. One by one, each person will show their true leadership colors.
Leaders are drawn to a challenge. Not only do they want to accomplish something personally, but they realize they can't accomplish something great on their own. They see a challenge and start to find ways to bring the right people around that will meet the challenge head on.
Others aren't so enthusiastic. Maybe at first they are. But after awhile - the heightened expectations, the necessity to stretch and grow, the venture into places they've never been before - it becomes too much for them and they bow out. It's not that they can't make the journey...they're just not the ones you want leading it.
Try it out yourself. Next time you're in a meeting or engaged with a group of people who all claim to be leaders - raise the bar...offer a challenge. Then sit back and watch their reactions. It won't be difficult to identify the leaders (those who think and act as leaders) as they emerge.
The Challenge Test is most evident for me around the time that we begin to transition our student leaders each year. Those who are leaving their student leadership positions are ready to move on (to the next challenge) and often begin to communicate some of the things they are frustrated with in their current position. What's remarkable is to hear from the students who are getting ready to move into these positions of leadership. They are motivated, excited, and full of solutions to the very issues that are frustrating the outgoing leadership. What one group sees as an obstacle...the next group sees as an opportunity. Part of it is simply the natural process of the transition each year. But the principle is still there...
A leader emerges when the challenge appears.
Think about your own response to the challenges that lie before you. If someone raised the bar would you rise to the challenge? Are you a problem solver? Do you hope that someone else will raise their hand when a difficult situation confronts your team? Are you growing more and more comfortable in your student leadership role?
The challenge has been issued...I'm just wondering if you'll be the one to lead.