Many people profess to have it, that Leadership Ability, but few people truly possess it. They read the books, listen to the tapes or DVD’s, go to the seminars, and then pronounce themselves Leaders. They use words like empowerment, total quality management, excellence, vision, commitment, and in the same breath, want to take the credit. As James O’Toole, a professor and leadership expert puts it,
“Ninety-five percent of American managers today say the right thing.
Five percent actually do it.”
I recently worked with an old friend who had chosen to go with a new company. Having worked with him several times before in other organizations, I had seen his management style in action. It was a sheer delight to watch him operate in a new company and see that he had already been awarded the title of LEADER by his staff. He is a man who respects, understands, directs, motivates, and helps everyone around him … a man who can be given a difficult task and accomplish it while at the same time CARING for all employees and customers. Lao-Tzu, a revered philosopher of ancient China, left us with an excellent explanation of leadership.
The superior leader gets things done with little motion.
He imparts instructions not through many words
but through a few deeds.
He keeps informed about everything but interferes hardly at all.
He is a catalyst, and though things would not get done as well
if he weren’t there, when they succeed he takes no credit.
And because he takes no credit, credit never leaves him.
Managers who think they must make people feel stupid, insecure or scared to get things done will never become great leaders. It is not just how good employees perform when you are there, it is also that they perform well when you are not there; that is the true benchmark of a great leader. Great leaders see the potential in people and cultivate it; they build confidence … not destroy it. Leadership is about helping others, teaching others, supporting others, giving credit to others – It’s about OTHERS – It’s not about YOU! Great leaders never look for fame, accolades or awards – they dwell on accomplishments and the rest follows.
You will know you are a leader
when you start making the people around you BETTER.