Leadership: Are You An Icon or An Idol?
This weekend marks the 11th anniversary of the demise of my state’s beloved symbol – New Hampshire’s Old Man of The Mountain. A granite formation that stood over 1200 feet above Profile Lake in Franconia Notch, it is the state symbol. It was early morning on May 3, 2003, that centuries of gravity, harsh weather, and decay took its toll on “The Great Stone Face” and it slid to the granite ledges below.
The Old Man will be forever a symbol of New Hampshire – strong, tough, rugged, and free. On state highway signs, souvenirs, and even the NH State Quarter, it will forever remain a legacy in the state. It is New Hampshire’s icon, even though it is no more.
It was admired, but never worshiped. It had cracks and fissures, but withstood the test of time for centuries. But like all things, it was not meant to be lasting. Yet it’s enduring legacy will last for the foreseeable future.
Leaders, are you an icon or an idol? Are you someone to be worshiped, adored, and catered to? Or have you created a legacy of serving and building others that makes you an icon for leadership?
Idols are things to be worshiped. Their following dies when the idol is no more. If you command followers because of your knowledge, position, or power, you most likely are someone who desires to be idolized.
Icons are symbols that represent a specific trait or characteristic. Their following lives on when they are no longer around. If your yearning is for others to lead by example, invest in people, and hold a high degree of integrity, then you are an icon for rock-solid, character-based leadership.
We are not permanent. We all have a finiteness to our very being. But what outlasts us is our legacy of character and leadership. Is your influence one to be commanded, or is it one that is respected and will stand the test of time?