I enjoy a little alliteration occasionally. This title popped into my mind while doing some fitness walking earlier today. Walking is a great time to develop ideas and lay the foundation for ideas. I realized everyone, during parts of their lives, wears each of these labels. Two are positive, while two are negative.
Fortunately, the two positive types, while experiencing periods of the negative traits, usually don't remain in the negative realm long. Unfortunately, the two negative types often spend most or all their lives wearing negative labels.
Have you figured it out, yet? Leaders and Loners are the positive people and Leaners and Losers are the negative people. Remember, everyone will experience periods wearing each of the four labels. So, allow me to give you my descriptions of these four kinds or people and experiences.
Leaders, in my opinion, aren't necessarily those people who might come to your mind first. There are certainly many people who manipulate their way to high-level, leadership roles. That, in itself, doesn't denote they are actually leaders. I could name names in the U.S., state and local governments, private sector industrial, commercial, medical and institutional complex, athletic teams, educational institutions and religious denominations of every variety. But, I won't. I'll leave that to your opinion.
First, leaders are individuals others look up to and respect for their integrity, competence, capabilities and actual achievements.
Second, leaders lead by example. They establish objectives, goals, rules, policies and provide an environment to fulfill the objectives and goals. Leaders also keeps their minds open for the ideas, suggestions and creativity of others.
Third, leaders always take full responsibility for the results of the undertaking. If the venture is successful, those under the leader receive credit for achieving the positive outcome. If the undertaking is not successful, leaders assumes full responsibility and never embarrass or humiliate those under their leadership. Leaders never publicly pass the buck. Leaders will meet individually and privately with those who may be partially or entirely responsible for the outcome and discuss what happened.
Fourth, leaders always knows that it's lonely at the top. They will not complain, vent or offload their professional or personal challenges, issues or problems on those under their leadership. This is demoralizing. So, the leader is usually a loner.
There are a lot more leaders than many people believe there may be, because a true leader often goes unrecognized. Some leaders may actually be part of the "rank and file" and silently lead their colleagues to successful achievements without need or concern for rewards or recognition. See what I mean when I said leaders may not be the people who first come to mind?
Leaners are those who may have minor personality disorders, difficult or troubling childhoods, low self-esteem or many other possible reasons for their behavior. They can only function when leaning on others for support. I wouldn't necessarily suggest that a leaner is impaired. But, they shy away from leadership roles and usually display little initiative personally or professionally.
Leaners always need some kind of help or assistance. Leaners may whine and make excuses why they can't do something until someone finally offers to assist them. Then they carefully manipulate things so they do as little as possible. Leaners are often joiners, because they fear or dislike being alone. Leaners are seldom doers. They lean on group or organization to support their fragile ego and low self-esteem. Their identity comes from belonging, not from being.
Loners are a very unique group. Most true leaders are loners and that's because, as stated earlier, "It's lonely at the top." The especially unique thing about many, if not most, loners is while they may be alone, they seldom experience loneliness.
Contrary to what may be a popular belief, loners are very often social individuals. They may be extroverted or introverted, but they enjoy the company of other people. But, they don't necessarily need a spouse or partner to feel complete. Loners can usually blend into whatever social or cultural group they may encounter, make friends that often result in long lasting friendships and comfortably participate in the group's activities.
Loners are seldom lonely because they know there are more interesting people around the next corner or over the next hill. They may not be the "life of the party," but they seek out individuals they most identify with and build relationships that may last for terms ranging from the particular event to a lifetime.
Loners are often misunderstood and even castigated for choosing to separate themselves from what the "majority" of a population consider a mainstream lifestyle. Loners may be nomadic or not. Loners may choose to live in traditional housing or housing that is outside the mainstream's frame of reference. Loners will often gravitate to more simple, natural settings, however, one can be a loner and find a place of solitude within a city or suburban setting.
In my opinion, loners can be just about anyone. However, I believe the common thread is that loners seek as much personal freedom to express their own way of living their life. Unfortunately, too many loners don't discover this until their lives are nearly over. Some may never discover it. Loners take full and complete responsibility for their own lives. While they may lead others in all kinds of endeavors, they are always accountable and seek their personal freedom and the ability to express it.
This is the end of the line. Losers, in my opinion, are those who simply do not fit into the other three descriptions. They have low self-esteem, choose to lean or live off others for their entire lives, have no ambition, fear failing so they try little or nothing, are never responsible for their past, present or future circumstances or actions and will do nothing to be responsible or accountable for themselves.
Their definition of freedom is finding ways to get everything, or as much as they can, free. Other names for losers are freeloaders, goldbricks, moochers and leeches. They live off the system (welfare), others like family and friends or on the streets looking for handouts. They have no initiative, no goals, no known exploitable gifts or talents or special knowledge or skills. Amazingly, any number of the people I just described are educated. They may have experienced a set back, chose to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs or some other addictive behavior and simply gave up. They expect someone else to assume responsibility for them.
Leaders, Leaners, Loners & Losers
So, to wrap this up, as stated earlier, during your life and my life, we have worn each of these labels. I'm not ashamed to admit it. It's just how life works. Leaders and Loners will figure it out and within a short period of time move out of the Leaner label or even recover from being a Loser. There are many stories of the Phoenix arising from the ashes.
I can only suggest if, through your own introspection, you find yourself wearing a Leaner or Loser label you take some time, look deep inside yourself and find out who is really in there. If you can't find anything but darkness, then you may be a lifetime Leaner or Loser. But, if there are sparks of light somewhere in there, seek them out, rip off the Leaner or Loser labels and join the legions of Leaders and Loners who await your metamorphosis.