March 15, 2018
I read a lot about leadership, and this summer I need to emcee a program focused on leadership and make a few opening comments. So I’ve started to do some research.
It’s funny when you want to define and learn more about leadership, the variety of definitions and examples you will come across.
- Set direction.
- Map out where you need to go.
- Guide people to the right destination.
- Motivate and inspire people.
You get the idea. But no one can define what makes a great leader, and are they taught or born to lead? And what is the difference between managing and leading?
First of all, we are all leaders at some point, whether a Youth League coach, Girl Scout troop leader or parent.
Most research determines leadership is a mindset, independent of a position. It is possible you can learn leadership while sitting at your desk, but eventually you have to apply what you learn. This is when leadership turns into action.
At some point it has to be more substance than image.
It has been determined good leaders have a drive to succeed and are driven toward excellence. They set challenging goals and are passionate about their work and their responsibilities. Their goals are the organization’s or the team’s goals.
So think about your supervisor, the youth coach or Girl Scout leader. They don’t order people around, they trust them to perform. They set the tone and want everyone involved to succeed. Their goals are your goals.
Their emotions are in check and their attitude sets the morale for the team. If they do all of this, they are good leaders.
Now think of yourself as a parent. You know you have to do all those things. In this domain, success is not optional.
To answer the managing/leading question… people who are highly skilled, good at their jobs and are valuable to their organization are excellent managers, not leaders.
Are you a leader?