THE ANATOMY OF LEADERSHIP
March 28, 2011
(Along with this columnist, Kevin Wysocki, from Washington, D.C. and former resident of Cherry Creek, contributed to this piece)
Be it current municipal affairs, or governance at all levels, the national political scene or international affairs, LEADERSHIP --or the absence of leadership-- comes front and center and is observable for all to see.
During the past weeks, the world watched with great concern the changing affairs of state first in Tunisia then Egypt followed by Libya, Morocco, Iran, Bahrain, and Yemen.
We saw anxiety on the faces of people, anger and rage on the streets, and we heard hour by hour, news dispatches and pubic announcements. There was uncertainty as to who spoke for whom and who was in charge of what organizational group. There seemed to be many who were looking for leadership and there were others who sought to be identified as the designated leader. At any rate, there seemed to be revolving and evolving leadership in transition.
For starters...anyone who dares to lead must never cease to learn. All learning begins with the simple phase "I donít know". But, by discovering new truths about things and about one's self, and what it is one does to accomplished some desired ends , credibility and passion are developed.
Leadership OR the absence of leadership is apparent within society at any given time or circumstance. We see it played out in local, county , state or federal election campaigns.
We see it in political parties, governmental agencies, private organizations, social gatherings, sporting events and the like. All of us know leadership when we see it. We can spot when leadership is lacking or when an organization is starved for leadership. When there is positive leadership, we see vibrancy and life; when there is weak leadership, the organization appears to be anemic and withering on the vine. Just what are those characteristics that distinguishes between the two?
For starters, anyone who dares to lead must never cease to learn. We believe that credibility is the currency of leadership. Credibility is essential. One may be an elected or appointed or even be a self appointed leader, but without CREDABILITY one is weak, ineffectual, and essentially "bankrupt" as a leader.
Credibility in leadership is enhanced by passion. Our definition of leadership goes like this: leaders are "people with credibility that leave footprints in their areas of passion." First, one must have motivational drive in what it is they do and a burning desire to make things better. Change management is an exciting but complex process, and passion will see one through it. To put it crudely, one must have the "fire in the belly" to fix something to make it right for growth and productivity. Leadership is a rendezvous with possibility based upon uncompromising integrity... for, with, and by the people. We are reminded that it was Thomas Carlyle who said: "Let each become all that he was created capable of being."
Organizational skills are essential in leadership. Leading major change requires both soaring creativity and mundane practicality. In a sense, great leaders need to be ambidextrous. They need to be practical in the day to dayís affairs and visionary in the possibility. The simple truth is... good leadership requires teamwork BY the people, open-mindedness WITH the people, and uncompromising integrity FOR the people.
In conclusion, when the leader's only attribute is personality driven, and motivated by self-centeredness and self prioritization, the resulting leadership impact is anemic, feckless, and ineffectual. Leadership is not about self, for the greatness of a leader is measured by the achievements of the led. Ah yes, anyone who dares to lead, must never cease to learn. And that is how we see it FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE.