What is leadership?
John Maxwell says that “all leadership is influence” and that “trust is the foundation of leadership”. I think that is a pretty good summary statement!
It has been said that organizations rise and fall on leadership. Without question, leadership has great impact and influence on individuals and organizations. When trust is not evident, leaders resort to fear, reward or control – which results in a culture that people don’t want to be a part of!
So, it would seem wise to ensure the right principles of leadership are encouraged and promoted, right?
Well, each person has their own observations, experiences and opinions about leadership – many of which have been assimilated with little thought. Think about it in your own world – what have you observed or been taught? Who has influenced how you think of leadership? Although leadership has many dimensions and is heavily influenced by time and culture, there are principles that always apply – no matter the context. I call them the “Leadership Truth Principles”.
- is right, just and fair
- encourages, comforts and compels people to achieve something greater
- by example, inspires people to live a life worth living
- follows vision with values and strategy
- does good when it is within the leader’s power to act
I have found that leaders who consistently demonstrate these principles will have lasting impact, engender trust and loyalty, improve profitability, effectively handle difficulties in life and others want to replicate and reciprocate the leadership style.
So, after seeing these truth principles, who do you think the priority is in leadership?
Is leadership all about me and what I can do or get? Or is it about what we are trying to do and accomplish together?
I firmly believe that the priority in leadership is “we”.
Lastly, I believe that leadership is expected to be faithful with what they have been given: a position/place of leadership, trust and accountability through ongoing evaluation. This plays out in our work and in our families as well – to be a faithful leader, team member, spouse, parent, son/daughter, brother/sister, friend, neighbor, etc.
Why is this important to consider? Because any worthy vision, venture or opportunity requires people to make it happen.
Therefore, the focus of leadership is the development and empowerment of people.
Once we understand these things to be true, we need to then determine how they play out in our personal domain of leadership. More to come on that in my next post!