Over the holiday weekend there were a number of references to various things centered on the military. A good friend, Mike Myatt, re-posted a brilliant article on his blog about leadership and what military members bring to the table. The characteristics regarding quality leadership quite common among members of the military aren’t exclusive to only those serving. They are characteristics, that’s all. They can be developed and adopted by anyone.

I have been reflecting on this over the past few months and have boiled it down to four simple words: Through me. By me.

This has become a mantra I have adopted and acts as a leadership moral compass. Anything that needs to be accomplished has two ways for that to happen. I can facilitate it happening by empowering and supporting others to do it, or I can do it myself. Quality leaders definitely understand that there needs to be a healthy blend of these two approaches in order to be fully effective.

Through me.

When we are in a position of leadership, we are blessed with the opportunity to facilitate the success of others. We can act as a conduit for those who may be less able, or possibly still a little fearful, to accomplish things. We can gather resources or mobilize other people to support accomplishing something amazing.

Having a through me approach to leadership positions us to do leadership well because it causes us to focus on others instead of just ourself. We are more able to get out of our own way and make things happen with others. The loyalty this breeds is fierce.

By me.

There are some people who believe this is an excuse to never let anyone do anything because they believe only they know how to do it right. Nothing could be further from the truth. As leaders, we are not external to the team…we are still members of the team. We may have different responsibilities, but we are still working members of the team.

Being, for lack of a better phrase, gatekeepers of work doesn’t mean we only get to dictate the job. There is an opportunity to coach and lead through the example of how you do things. By me is the perfect way to do it. By me gives leaders the best opportunity to reinforce culture as well. Working side by side with those on your team generates an amazing sense of cohesiveness.

As you find yourself leading, pay attention to what is through you and what is by you. You will find that it adds a greater sense of clarity to how you delegate, support and function as a leader.

What are some examples where you have used through me, by me?