Gary Vaynerchuk does not claim to be a religious or Christian leader at all. In fact, a lot of his videos and concepts would make the average church-goer blush. However, as a Christian leader, the more I study leadership, motivation, and organizational theory the more I respect his approach to leadership, motivation, and organizational theory.
Last week I watched one of his videos where he let out a verbal assault on the concept of needing a mentor. Here’s what he said (censored version):
“No, I cannot be your mentor…I don’t have time to be your mentor. I’m actually mentoring you now because it’s all free….you don’t need to pay me or pay someone else to be your mentor. You need to face the fact that it takes work. You’re looking for mentors and books and all of this other stuff because you don’t want to put in the work. You know what it takes….You know what it takes to get what you want. We lack the work ethic to do what it takes…”
Deep within his F-bomb laced rant is a serious leadership principle:
The best leaders are first and foremost self-leaders.
Self-leadership is so important that leadership expert John Maxwell said, “One’s success in leading up, down, or from the middle of an organization hinges on their ability to self-manage.” This means that before you learn how to direct others, you should be well versed in how to manage your own emotions, time, energy, thoughts, and personal life. This is more than just learning how to prioritize the various issues that a leader must juggle. This is about truly practicing what is preached in order to lead others into their full potential. The world does not need more leaders who just look the part. The world does not need more people selling us something that they have never experienced. I believe in the power of mentoring, but not at the expense of self-leadership. The mentor/mentee relationship is a two-way street.
I’ll be your mentor…if you are willing to do the hard work of self-leadership.