Summary: True leadership is not about superiority, position, or prestige. It’s about revealing and releasing the potential of those around us
What is leadership?
Every one of us is a leader in our own right. Before you can lead someone else, a group, or an organization, you must be able to lead yourself. That means decisiveness, dedication, determination, discipline, self-actualization, sense of purpose, and humility. True leadership is not about superiority, position, or prestige. It’s about revealing and releasing the potential of those around us. Leadership is not about the power of one, but facilitating the greatness of many. Hence true leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated. It must be earned. I have been in positions of leadership since 20plus years, some lessons I learned the hard way, through trial and error followed by the humility that comes from overcoming those mistakes. The best leadership book I have ever read is the Bible. Other lessons I learned through observing those I esteemed to be great leaders whose example I sought to follow. Without question the Jesus of Nazareth was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known and he frequently led by example. Needless to say, the average modern man can learn an enduring leadership principles from the greatest leader who ever lived. Through it all I found several traits that I think are necessary for a true leader: Here are some of their most important characteristics:
1. Purpose and Vision
Great leaders have Vision and Purpose … They can see into the future. Leaders discover a purpose and create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately, and relentlessly drive it to completion. In our secular society, we tend to think of a leader as a person who is well-connected, who is powerful or charismatic or wealthy. We judge our leaders by what they have. But a true leader should be judged by what he has not — ego, arrogance, and self-interest. A true leader has Vision and Purpose and sees his work as selfless service toward a higher purpose.
This is why the great leaders could articulate a vision so clear it seemed as though it had already come to pass. The purpose and vision of a true leader shall be to elevate mankind’s trust, and to fill the world with goodness. Great leaders focus on the big picture and can describe that picture to their colleagues, subordinates, partners, and followers. Generally, very few people know what they want, much less how to get there, so they will gravitate towards those who appear to have a clear picture in mind--good clarity leads to great achievement.
Leaders are inherently selfless and hardworking. They are driven by their conviction and purpose and resonates the passion in their vision statements. I believe that a great leader knows the “why” behind the “what” that they are doing. They also have the ability to help other people catch the vision of the “why” so they can accomplish the “what”. Leadership is action. The vision is the articulation of the action to get to where the group needs to go. The vision should be well defined and effectively communicated. Leadership success always starts with vision and purpose.
2 Principles and Values
Leaders are defined by their inner strengths and convictions, not the outer portrayal of who they are. Your character will determine your level of leadership and your legacy. Living on principle is one essential that will help you lead well and finish well. There are seven elements of being a principled leader: decisiveness, dedication, determination, discipline, sincerity, humility, and integrity.
Want to know if you possess these seven valuable principles? Practice the art of these principles and establish an accountability system to help keep you grounded. No one likes a leader with a big head. It’s been said that following is easy, but leading is difficult. That is no doubt true. The value of integrity as a foundational leadership virtue is inestimable. When you say what you mean and mean what you say, people will trust you implicitly and generally respond in kind.
As a leader, it’s important to raise the bar high by personally modeling a standard of truthfulness that demonstrates your deepest morals and values mirror your organizations mission. Never passing the buck: If you are -- or want to be -- a leader, you must always remember that there is no passing the buck. When final decisions have to be made, they must be made with confidence, clarity, and decisiveness. Never passing the buck: If you are -- or want to be -- a leader, you must always remember that there is no passing the buck. When final decisions have to be made, they must be made with confidence, clarity, and decisiveness.
3. Persistence and Passion
Good leaders are extremely persistent people. They have absolute confidence and belief in themselves and they never let rejections or any obstacles for that matter slow them down. If you research any of their stories you will see that this is a trait they unilaterally all share. Leaders believe that what they do is important and purposeful. The belief is the conviction that drives the leader’s Persistence and Passion. The conviction is communicated in the vision and nearly every statement of the leader. There's nothing more inspirational than seeing someone who cares about what they do--the best leaders exhibit boundless energy and passion for what they do.