Monday Motivation – June 6, 2022

While I see everything through the lens of leadership and leader development, sometimes to my children’s chagrin, I spend an enormous amount of time talking about personal growth and personal strategic planning because they are integral to leader development. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to talk about the qualities of a leader.

I won’t talk about good and bad leaders, just leaders; you will get why. I also believe that leaders are developed, not born, and that leadership is always about people and the organization. The relationship between the mission, organizational dynamics, and the leader is deeply entwined.

So, what is a leader? A leader has followers. That’s pretty simple, but why do leaders have followers? So, is every manager, supervisor, general, and person in authority a leader? Maybe not. In their book The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes and Posner discuss their 30-year study of leadership in various industries and organizations, excluding the military. They found that the most desired characteristics of a leader are honesty, competence, vision, and the ability to inspire. Darren Hardy, the former editor of Success magazine, will tell you the characteristics of future leaders in your organization that you should look for: initiative, ability to think beyond their role, resilience, communication, emotional intelligence, and loyalty. I have to say I agree with all of these.

Leaders inspire people to achieve. Thus, leadership is the set of actions taken by the leader to inspire people to transcend to something greater than the self. This skill is learned over time in a continuous cycle of study, action, reflection, and refinement and is best learned in apprenticeship to master leaders. The characteristics are common, but the application is unique to every job and organization. I routinely speak about the Five Tenets: learn something and teach something every day; be competent; own the mission; go the extra mile; and the Prime Imperative. So I will speak to these over the coming weeks.

I challenge you this week to decide if you’re a leader and what you’re doing to be better.

Remember, “all things are possible through prayer and heavy deadlifts.”™

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