Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What Leaders Understand

Leaders have many different styles, types and personas and can be found in every profession, industry, community or aspect of our lives. You will find shy or gregarious, vain or humble, friendly or aloof, technical or non-technical, and so forth. You will find leaders sharing and mentoring others in one-on-one, small and large group situations. You will find leaders everywhere.

So, what is it that makes a good leader? Peter Drucker has been recognized for all his research and work in the study of leadership and he noted that there is not a single style, personality or character that can be attributed to a leader. So what, then, is that makes a leader.

Leadership is a behavior, an attitude or set of skills that one practices. It is not the same as "managing" someone, nor is it to be confused with a position one is hired for or a task or project that is delegated to another individual.

Great leaders understand this difference and understand four basic principles that helps them to be successful:
  • All leaders have followers. They have ideas, vision, energy or information that draws other people to them. Without followers, we would not have leaders.
  • Effective leaders may not be someone who is loved or admired. Instead, they have followers who do the right things or support the leaders vision or the big picture because it is the right thing to do. Leadership is not a popularity contest. Results are what followers and other leaders look for from an effective leader.
  • Leaders are highly visible and observed by their followers. Therefore, it is important that they set examples and not only "talk the talk" but walk it, and live it, as well.
  • Leadership has nothing to do with rank, privilege, title or money. Instead, it is about responsibility and mentoring others.

If you have the opportunity to serve others as a leader, how do you "stack up?" Who are your followers and do they do the right thing? Are you setting the right example? Do your followers get the maximum results and outcomes from your leadership? Do people resist your leadership or do they willingly follow?

Spend some time studying your leadership opportunities and how others perceive your role? Make adjustments where needed in order to become not "just a leader," but, instead, become a GREAT leader!


Copyright M. A. Webb, 2004-2006. All Rights Reserved

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