There is no definitive profile or suite of knowledge, soft-skills, or behaviors that defines leadership. Which makes defining or designing a good leader almost impossible.
In the May, 2022 issue of Business Growth Digest, Business Schools Don’t Teach You How to Run a Business, I referenced authors Pierce and Newstrom’s book titled Leaders & the Leadership Process. The book is part of graduate degree curriculum. It chronicles thousands of examples of societies efforts to define leadership. That fact alone should tell you something.
One thoroughly unfulfilling description they found reads “… leadership is the process of securing direction in social activity which otherwise would blind and disorderly.” Wow. That’s inspiring.
Another reads “A leader is best, When people barely know he [she] exists, Not so good when people obey him [her], Worse when they despise him [her]. But of a good leader, who talks little, When his [her] task is done, his aim fulfilled, They will say: We did it ourselves.
Not exactly my view of Churchill, who’s leadership was credited with saving England in World War II.
Yes, defining “the” perfect leader is a fool’s errand. People are radically different. Situations where leadership is required can be spectacularly dissimilar. Therefore, the best leaders always have been, and in my opinion always will be, emerge only when their particular knowledge, skill, and behavior are suited to the environment they’re being thrust into.
There are, however, many quips, quotes, and maxims portraying aspects of good leadership. I include the ones below because I find them to be well stated and having broad application.
- Good leaders believe they should hire people “better” than themselves and aren’t afraid to ask those “better” people for help.
- Good leaders provide the framework for staff to operate at peak performance allowing for the best efforts of good people.
- Good leaders see failures, weaknesses, and imperfections as learning opportunities and know how to benefit from them.
- Good leaders balance the benefits of how things get done with the need for what gets done.
- Good leaders understand how to ensure teaching leads to practicable knowledge and understanding.
- Good leaders recognize the importance of good management and their role in reinforcing good performance.
- Good leaders know what it takes to succeed is constantly changing, and they are constantly learning and pushing themselves to improve.
And the granddaddy of them all.
- The best leaders create a vision bigger than any one individual can attain on their own. One grand enough for every member of their organization to connect with. A vision everyone feels they are helping achieve.
For me, being a good leader means never being satisfied with the status quo. Whether it be my performance, the performance of those around me, the environments we work in, or the clients we serve, improvement is always just around the corner. It means recognizing my organization needs to be its fiercest competitor, always looking for ways to improve and increase our value to those we serve and pursuing our vision.
The opportunities to be part of my clients’ journeys are how, as leaders, we grow and learn. Your leadership strengths, and areas for improvement are often hidden requiring us to seek outside perspectives. Of all the things you can do to be the best leader possible, I can explore possibilities with you and get you pointed in the right direction.
Stop working in a vacuum and take a few minutes to reflect and think about working on yourself as a leader. Make the time to reach out to me at email@example.com or call 916-798-0600 and schedule an exploration session. We’ll talk about what you want for yourself and your business. We’ll go through a 10-minute discovery session to find your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. With the dramatic change happening around us, now is THE best time to begin.