28 Feb 2020

Hero or guide – which one should you be?

Hero or guide – which one should you be?

When you think of a hero, you might think of superheroes like Batman, Wolverine or Wonder Woman or heroes from sports, politics or business. There are likely as many superlatives of the characteristics of a hero as there are definitions. Some may say that a hero is just any ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure despite overwhelming obstacles.


Have you ever stopped and thought about playing the lead role yourself? Being the hero. Business is all about people and as leaders we are in the people business. This makes it both motivating and sometimes a little bit scary since there are so many moving parts when dealing with people.

Leadership is like cooking on open fire

It is fairly easy to describe a process or a flow and how things should be done. Add people to this scenario and the whole thing becomes more challenging, but at the same time more interesting, multifaceted and motivating. Leadership is many times like cooking on open fire. It requires presence, attention and focus on the details.

Leadership is all about understanding behaviour and what drives people and cultivating empathy together with determination and trust. Every time people join or leave a team, the people and group dynamics is rebuilt. This can for some people be very frustrating and for others an opportunity to learn and grow. By studying high-performing teams, we can learn a lot. Combining will and skill creates a magical formula for getting things done. Nevertheless, the real glue in a team is mutual trust, respect for each other and a common desirable purpose which turns ideas into action and results.

Freedom is a bigger game than power

Author and  publishing industry professional, Harriet Rubin has said that "Freedom is actually a bigger game than power. Power is about what you control. Freedom is about what you unleash.”

The true leadership heroes are the ones that guide their colleagues with a human touch - they unleash the power of people. They grow more heroes. When you give your people responsibility, hold them accountable and help them excel - you create heroes. You will become their trusted guide and together, you will drive high-performance by unleashing will and skill.

So, let's return to the original question and revise. Which one should you be, the hero, or the guide? You should in fact have the opportunity to be both. It all comes down to the context and the task at hand.

In conclusion – be the guide with your team and create heroes!

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Michael Röllich
Commercial Director
+358 40 519 7696 michael.rollich(a)hankensse.fi
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