Understanding Leadership

Understanding Leadership

Do you consider yourself a leader? Recently, I was working with a client on leadership skills. We spoke about several key attributes and elements of leadership. I thought I would share some of them with you.

  • Leadership does not come from a title, but rather your ability to demonstrate leadership. Someone might have the title “manager” or “VP,” but the front-line worker may be the person people follow and listen to—and that person is the leader.
  • Leadership entails trust. People need to have trust in a leader and not doubt their decisions. They can question to understand and perhaps sway a leader’s stance, but they have to trust that person to have their best interests in mind.
  • A leader listens to others and does what is right (or urges others to do so), even if that means not just “towing the company line.”
  • Leaders must be confident but not arrogant. Confidence is knowing you are good or the best at something, but treating everyone as peers and generally downplaying strong attributes. Leaders use these traits for the betterment of others and the whole. Arrogance is reflected in the belief that you are above and better than others. It demonstrates an air of superiority, condescension, and is often demeaning of others. Arrogant leaders seek to raise themselves up and serve their own purposes at the expense of others, rather than the good of the whole.
  • People follow a leader by choice rather than by sanction.

In a group I belong to, one person mentioned something I will never forget. He said, “If I want to be a leader, I have to do more than find out which direction the mob is going and get in front of it.” I always keep that in mind.

Let me know your favourite leadership traits.

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  1. A good leader has to have honesty/integrity. They must be trustworthy and be decisive. However I believe that all starts with empathy.

    • Jim, I could mot agree more. It all starts with empathy!

  2. Best leadership quote I have heard comes from General Colin Powell (USA):
    “When your employees have stopped asking you questions, then you have stopped leading them”.
    Too many managers think that they have a “well trained” workforce because their subordinates ask no questions. This is likely wrong!
    Also this: “The very best of generals eats with the troops.” So, get rid of the executive dining room.

  3. Dave,
    Love this. Colin Powell truly was a leader who ate with the troops could discern when the troops were no longer asking questions!! Thanks for sharign DT!


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