When I look up the word “leadership,” these are the words and phrases used to describe it: vision, motivation, serving, empathy, thoroughness, managing, team building, continuous improvement and taking risks.
Though a leader may need to have these qualities, I believe the most important element of leadership is living your life based on integrity. To me, this means a leader will act and do everything in the same manner he or she demands of those they are leading.
If the leader is confident but humble; passionate but not only through words; positive but not accepting only positivity in place of hard work; respected but only because he or she gives respect first; I feel the title of leader may be appropriate.
But there’s more. Leadership can’t be properly expressed if there isn’t clear direction. The first role of a great leader has to be an understanding of the direction the company is moving or hopes to move toward. Sometimes it’s spelled out — other times, not so much.
The leader is responsible for making sure the club’s direction is clear. An organization should know why it exists, defined as its core purpose.
The leader’s role is also to make sure everyone knows their role. It’s making certain the entire organization lives up to the standards and understands the actions necessary to carry it through.
I believe a leader can never stop learning because he or she can never accept good enough as good enough. If you have ever read the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, you’ll learn the biggest enemy of becoming great is being good.
Collins writes, “We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
It takes a lot of work to move a company past good, but that’s what leadership is all about.
An organization will never survive if everyone accepts the phrase, “We’re good enough.” The role of a leader is not to keep an organization how it is, but to find out where it can go and what it can become.
And in the process, the leader can discover everything he or she can become, too.