The ability to go before others and show them the way. Guide. Direct.

— Leadership, 20

the position or function of a leader: He managed to maintain his leadership of the party despite heavy opposition.
ability to lead: She displayed leadership potential.
an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction: They prospered under his leadership.
the leaders of a group: The union leadership agreed to arbitrate.

The word leadership can refer to:

  1. Those entities that perform one or more acts of leading.
  2. The ability to affect human behavior so as to accomplish a mission.
  3. Influencing a group of people to move towards its goal setting or goal achievement.


Every leader needs to look back once in a while to make sure he has followers.Author Unknown
There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.Alexandre Ledru-Rollin
I’ve met a lot of leaders in the Army who were very competent — but they didn’t have character. And for every job they did well, they sought reward in the form of promotions, in the form of awards and decorations, in the form of getting ahead at the expense of someone else, in the form of another piece of paper that awarded them another degree — a sure road to the top. You see, these were competent people, but they lacked character. I’ve also met a lot of leaders who had superb character but who lacked competence. They weren’t willing to pay the price of leadership, to go the extra mile because that’s what it took to be a great leader. And that’s sort of what it’s all about. To lead in the 21st century — to take soldiers, sailors, airmen into harms way — you will be required to have both character and competence.General H. Norman Schwarzkopt


1.  Be the first to lead by example

  • Being an example means walking your talk
  • Being an example in the small things allows you to win
  • Being an example demonstrates commitment
  • Being an example builds trust
  • Being an example requires courage

2.  Be a Lifeline of Communication

  • Communication triangle
  • Communicating the truth
  • Communicating by being connected
  • Clear, concise communication
  • Being a better listener than talker
  • Communicating to new team members

3.  Be the First to Praise Others

  • Quiet Confidence
  • Humility
  • Humility and Mistakes
  • Examples of humility
  • Words of Praise

4.  Be the First to Protect and Defend (Loyalty)

  • Why loyalty is important on teams
  • Defining loyalty
  • Loyalty means keeping your arms around the inner circle
  • Loyalty means being aware and dealing with snipers

5.  Be the First to Confront Violations of Team Standards

  • Defining confrontation
  • Why confront
  • Confrontation requires courage
  • Confrontation requires integrity
  • What are you willing to confront and at what level
  • How to confront
  • Code of confrontation
  • Working with your coach and leadership team
  • When confrontation doesn’t work
  • Examples of effective confrontation

6.  Be the First to Encourage and Last to Become Discouraged

  • Be passionate about what you do
  • Be the face your team needs to see
  • Be a confidence builder
  • Recovery rituals

7.  Be the First to Serve Others

  • It’s not about you
  • Selfish leadership
  • Serving leadership
  • Examples of servant leaders

The world needs leaders…

who cannot be bought; whose word is their promise; who put character above wealth; who possess opinions and a will; who are larger than their vocations; who do not hesitate to take chances; who will not lose their individuality in a crowd; who will be honest in small things as well as in great things; who will make no compromise with wrong; whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires; who will not say they do it ”because everybody else does it”; who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as in prosperity; who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success; who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular, who can say no with emphasis, although the rest of the world says yes.Paul Borthwick
Caution to newly promoted leaders — remember what the mamma whale told the baby whale: ”When you get to the top and start letting off steam, that’s the time you’re most likely to be harpooned.”Bits & Pieces

Types of leadership styles:

The bureaucratic leader is very structured and follows the procedures as they have been established. This type of leadership has no space to explore new ways to solve problems and is usually slow paced to ensure adherence to the ladders stated by the company. Leaders ensure that all the steps have been followed prior to sending it to the next level of authority. Universities, hospitals, banks and government usually require this type of leader in their organizations to ensure quality, increase security and decrease corruption. Leaders that try to speed up the process will experience frustration and anxiety.

The charismatic leader leads by infusing energy and eagerness into their team members. This type of leader has to be committed to the organization for the long run. If the success of the division or project is attributed to the leader and not the team, charismatic leaders may become a risk for the company by deciding to resign for advanced opportunities. It takes the company time and hard work to gain the employees’ confidence back with other type of leadership after they have committed themselves to the magnetism of a charismatic leader.

The autocratic leader is given the power to make decisions alone, having total authority. This leadership style is good for employees that need close supervision to perform certain tasks. Creative employees and team players resent this type of leadership, since they are unable to enhance processes or decision making, resulting in job dissatisfaction.

The democratic leader listens to the team’s ideas and studies them, but will make the final decision. Team players contribute to the final decision thus increasing employee satisfaction and ownership, feeling their input was considered when the final decision was taken. When changes arises, this type of leadership helps the team assimilate the changes better and more rapidly than other styles, knowing they were consulted and contributed to the decision making process, minimizing resistance and intolerance. A shortcoming of this leadership style is that it has difficulty when decisions are needed in a short period of time or at the moment.

The laissez-faire (“let do”) leader gives no continuous feedback or supervision because the employees are highly experienced and need little supervision to obtain the expected outcome. On the other hand, this type of style is also associated with leaders that don’t lead at all, failing in supervising team members, resulting in lack of control and higher costs, bad service or failure to meet deadlines.

The people-oriented leader is the one that, in order to comply with effectiveness and efficiency, supports, trains and develops his personnel, increasing job satisfaction and genuine interest to do a good job.

The task-oriented leader focuses on the job, and concentrates on the specific tasks assigned to each employee to reach goal accomplishment. This leadership style suffers the same motivation issues as autocratic leadership, showing no involvement in the team’s needs. It requires close supervision and control to achieve expected results. Another name for this is deal maker and is linked to a first phase in managing Change, enhance, according to the Organize with Chaos approach.

The servant leader facilitates goal accomplishment by giving its team members what they need in order to be productive. This leader is an instrument employees use to reach the goal rather than a commanding voice that moves to change. This leadership style, in a manner similar to democratic leadership, tends to achieve the results in a slower time frame than other styles, although employee engagement is higher.

The transaction leader is given power to perform certain tasks and reward or punish for the team’s performance. It gives the opportunity to the manager to lead the group and the group agrees to follow his lead to accomplish a predetermined goal in exchange for something else. Power is given to the leader to evaluate, correct and train subordinates when productivity is not up to the desired level and reward effectiveness when expected outcome is reached.

The transformation leader motivates its team to be effective and efficient. Communication is the base for goal achievement focusing the group in the final desired outcome or goal attainment. This leader is highly visible and uses chain of command to get the job done. Transformational leaders focus on the big picture, needing to be surrounded by people who take care of the details. The leader is always looking for ideas that move the organization to reach the company’s vision.

The environment leader is the one who nurtures group or organizational environment to affect the emotional and psychological perception of an individual’s place in that group or organization. An understanding and application of group psychology and dynamics is essential for this style to be effective. The leader uses organizational culture to inspire individuals and develop leaders at all levels. This leadership style relies on creating an education matrix where groups interactively learn the fundamental psychology of group dynamics and culture from each other. The leader uses this psychology, and complementary language, to influence direction through the members of the inspired group to do what is required for the benefit of all.

You can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.Gene Mauch
Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.Albert Schweitzer
You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That’s assault, not leadership.Dwight D. Eisenhower

Look For the Gold Not for the Dirt

At one time Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America. He came to America from his native Scotland when he was a small boy, did a variety of odd jobs, and eventually ended up as the largest steel manufacturer in the United States. At one time he had forty-three millionaires working for him. In those days a millionaire was a rare person; conservatively speaking, a million dollars in his day would be equivalent to at least twenty million dollars today. A reporter asked Carnegie how he had hired forty-three millionaires. Carnegie responded that those men had not been millionaires when they started working for him but had become millionaires as a result.

The reporter’s next question was, “How did you develop these men to becomes so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?” Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt – one goes in looking for the gold.

That’s exactly the way we coaches need to view our players. Don’t look for the flaws, warts, and blemishes. Look for the gold, not for the dirt; the good, not the bad. Look for the positive aspects in each player. Like everything else, the more good qualities we look for in our people, the more good qualities we are going to find, and when we put all those little talents (specks of gold) together, we will find that we a real treasure.

A leader is a person with a magnet in his heart and a compass in his head.Vance Hainer
A football coach gave this advice on how to deal with failures. ”When you’re about to be run out of town, get out in front and make it look like you’re heading a parade.”Bits & Pieces

Suggested qualities of leadership

Studies of leadership have suggested qualities that people often associate with leadership. They include:

  • Technical/specific skill at some task at hand
  • Charismatic inspiration – attractiveness to others and the ability to leverage this esteem to motivate others
  • Preoccupation with a role – a dedication that consumes much of leaders’ life – service to a cause
  • A clear sense of purpose (or mission) – clear goals – focus – commitment
  • Results-orientation – directing every action towards a mission – prioritizing activities to spend time where results most accrue.
  • Cooperation – work well with others
  • Optimism – very few pessimists become leaders
  • Rejection of determinism – belief in one’s ability to “make a difference”
  • Ability to encourage and nurture those that report to them – delegate in such a way as people will grow
  • Role models – leaders may adopt a persona that encapsulates their mission and lead by example
  • Self-knowledge (in non-bureaucratic structures)
  • Self-awareness – the ability to “lead” (as it were) one’s own self prior to leading other selves similarly
  • Awareness of environment – the ability to understand the environment they lead in and how they affect and are affected by it
  • With regards to people and to projects, the ability to choose winners – recognizing that, unlike with skills, one cannot (in general) teach attitude. Note that “picking winners” (“choosing winners”) carries implications of gamblers’ luck as well as of the capacity to take risks, but “true” leaders, like gamblers but unlike “false” leaders, base their decisions on realistic insight (and usually on many other factors partially derived from “real” wisdom).
  • Empathy – Understanding what others say, rather than listening to how they say things – this could partly sum this quality up as “walking in someone else’s shoes” (to use a common cliché).
  • Integrity – the integration of outward actions and inner values.
  • Sense of Humour – people work better when they’re happy.
A man is only a leader when a follower stands beside him.Mark Brouwer
Leadership is based on a spiritual quality; the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow.Vince Lombardi
A leader is a dealer in hopeNapoleon Bonaparte

A ‘charter’ for leaders published in 2008 by Burman and Evans:

  1. Leading by example in accordance with the company’s core values.
  2. Building the trust and confidence of the people with which they work.
  3. Continually seeking improvement in their methods and effectiveness.
  4. Keeping people informed.
  5. Being accountable for their actions and holding others accountable for theirs.
  6. Involving people, seeking their views, listening actively to what they have to say and representing these views honestly.
  7. Being clear on what is expected, and providing feedback on progress.
  8. Showing tolerance of people’s differences and dealing with their issues fairly.
  9. Acknowledging and recognizing people for their contributions and performance.
  10. Weighing alternatives, considering both short and long-term effects and then being resolute in the decisions they make.
If two or three persons should come with a high spiritual aim and with great powers, the world would fall into their hands like a ripe peach.Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am more afraid of an army of one hundred sheep led by a lion than an army of one hundred lions led by a sheep.Charles Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand-Périgord
George Bernard Shaw’s statement frequently flashes through my mind: ”Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” In a day of passing the buck with merely a shrug, those words bite and sting. It’s one thing to sing and dance to liberty’s tunes, but it’s something else entirely to bear the responsibility for paying the band. There are numerous examples of this. Being in leadership carries with it a few privileges and perks, but living with the responsibility of that task makes a reserved parking space and your own bathroom pale into insignificance. Conceiving children is a moment of sheer ecstasy, but rearing them as a loving and caring parent represents years of thankless responsibility. Enjoying a great conference is both delightful and memorable, but behind the scenes – count on it – are unseen hours of creative thinking, disciplined planning, and responsible arranging. Running an organization that gets a job done, leaving those involved feeling fulfilled and appreciated, can be exciting, fun, and stretching, but it’s a nightmare unless the details of responsibility are clearly set forth and maintained.Charles Swindoll

The Three Fundamentals Of Effective Business Leadership

By John Ryan

To lead our business organizations effectively through today’s economic turmoil, we all will benefit if we master the skills of vision, communication and judgment.

Leadership success always starts with vision. Henry Ford dreamed of a car families could afford. Steve Jobs dreamed of an easy-to-use computer that would unleash creativity. Nelson Mandela dreamed of an integrated, prosperous South Africa. These were heady ideas, and they attracted more than a few sneers. But they weren’t the daydreams of lazy people with too much time on their hands. They were deep-seated passions, magnetic enough to capture the minds of just a few devoted followers at first but ultimately the imaginations of millions of women and men. A compelling vision has that power. It inspires, clarifies and focuses the work of individuals–and preferably entire organizations–for a lengthy span of time. Before you embark on any leadership enterprise, stop and take a hard look at your vision of success. What is it? Do you even have one? Often, in the rush to get things done, to launch a new project or product, we ask people to get behind our efforts without ever really giving them a good reason why. Your vision need not be as grandiose as Mandela’s. It probably shouldn’t be, unless you have Mandela’s phenomenal array of talents and experience. If you do, I’d like to hear from you right away. It’s fine to start with something smaller, like launching a new product line in your business, or publishing a book or instituting new technology to improve your customer service. Just pick something that matters, something that excites both you and your colleagues.

But even an incredibly compelling vision won’t do much good if it remains only in your head. That brings us to the second key skill: communication. For busy leaders, there’s always the temptation to keep your thoughts to yourself, often because there’s so much other pressing work to do. Stopping to talk and listen can seem a waste of time. It’s easy to cut off debate too early, especially in this economically trying moment. Still, mustering the discipline and time to share strategies with your staff or talk directly with your clients is only half the fight. You still need to communicate effectively–and that means being your organization’s chief listening officer. When key information needs to be shared, some leaders will simply send out a memo or give a speech (without leaving time for questions) and check “communication” off their list. Later on, they’ll wonder why their customers don’t like a product or why their men and women don’t understand their new strategy.We can all learn a few things from A. G. Lafley, the CEO of Procter & Gamble ( PG – news – people ). There’s nothing flashy about him as a leader, but he’s led a remarkable turnaround at P&G during his nearly 10 years at the top. He’s done it by relentlessly communicating his core message: “The consumer is boss.” Lafley holds meeting regularly with buyers of P&G products. That’s one of his top priorities. He’ll visit them in their homes and join them for shopping trips to get their feedback, and he does so all over the world. He lavishes the same attention on his employees, meeting them in their offices, listening to their ideas and thanking them for their service. We’re wise to imitate him.

A third key element of successful leadership involves judgment. In the end, your judgment calls, which are rooted in your character, become your legacy. Without the right values, judgment can easily be trumped by perverse incentives that encourage poor ethical choices. Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis covered this topic well in their excellent book Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls. Not every single judgment call you make needs to be correct. But you need to make the right calls consistently on the big choices involving strategy and talent. Good strategy judgment frequently means a leader must find a new path when his organization is heading in the wrong direction. How well you can do this depends on your ability to scan the horizon and ask the right questions. But unless you have the right people on board, you can’t execute your strategy. You need to get the right talent, and you need to ensure that it’s positioned appropriately throughout your organization–and this is a constantly evolving process. The skill sets you need and the places in your organization where your men and women best fit will change as your environment and competition shift and new opportunities arise. Ann Mulcahy became CEO of Xerox ( XRX – news – people ) when it was on the verge of bankruptcy. She led a phenomenal recovery by exercising great judgment. As Bill George recounts in True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, Mulcahy’s first move was to meet with the top 100 executives at Xerox and ask them to stay and fight for the company’s future. All but two of them did. She also got out into the field to meet her employees and scout talent. She surrounded herself with good people and made sure they knew she needed them. She looked into the future and saw brighter days ahead for Xerox, even when key advisers were urging her to consider bankruptcy. In her view, that future depended on re-engaging with customers through a strong sales team, launching innovative products by investing in research and development and reinventing the company’s approach to its operating expenses. That strategy, developed in cooperation with her colleagues, rallied the entire organization. It provides a fine model for us as well.

The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.Tony Blair
Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.Dwight D. Eisenhower
To lead the people, walk behind them.Lao-Tzu

General John Galvin, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Commander-in-Chief of U.S. European Command, was asked what was it like to be in charge of so many and various forces. His reply: “I often feel like the director of a cemetery. I have a lot of people under me, but nobody listens.”


In this Age of Self, the language is filled with phrases that glorify personal choice above all other values: self-determination, self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-help even do-it-yourself. In this climate, no doctrine is safe, no dictate accepted without scrutiny….The touchstone of belief today is the individual, not the institution. Leaders in all realms, have lost authority. The same voters who talk back to their political leaders on call-in shows and town meetings are talking back to their religious leaders at parish council meetings, the school superintendent at school board meetings, and now (following the lead of their parents) students talking back to their teachers and players talking back to their coaches. The appropriate analogy for modern mores is to fast food rather than to cafeterias; as the slogan for one hamburger chain puts it: ”Have it your way.”…How can leaders lead when followers don’t want to be led?Steven V. Roberts
Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.Source Unknown
In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence the supreme quality of a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, on a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.Dwight D. Eisenhower
There is a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, ”Are you a leader?” Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, ”No,” and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: ”Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower.”S. I. McMillen

Sound the Trumpet!

Leadership is a peak performance by the one who is “the trumpet that sounds a clear sound of the organizations’ goals.” Five requirements for this task are amazingly reliable and useful for those who dare to lead:

  1. a leader works;
  2. a leader sees his assignment as responsibility rather than rank or privilege;
  3. a leader wants strong, capable, self-assured, independent associates;
  4. a leader creates human energies and vision;
  5. a leader develops followers’ trust by his own consistency and integrity.
Leadership is not magnetic personality. That can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not making friends and influencing people; that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to higher standards, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.Peter Drucker
Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation.William Arthur Wood
Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.Stephen Covey

Leadership….It’s lonely at the top!

Myron Rush identifies tough issues facing every leader in The New Leader. We are wise to ponder them slowly.

  • You must be willing to stand alone.
  • You must be willing to go against public opinion in order to promote what you believe.
  • You must be willing to risk failure.
  • You must become master of your emotions.
  • You must strive to remain above reproach.
  • You must be willing to make decisions others don’t want to make.
  • You must be willing to say no at times, even when you’d like to say yes.
  • You must sometimes be willing to sacrifice personal interests for the good of the group.
  • You must never be content with the average; you must always strive for the best.
  • People must be more important to you than possessions.
  • You will have to work harder to keep your life in balance than people do who are not leaders.
The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” Leaders need to have a good picture of what is really going on around them. And they need to help others take an honest look at this reality.Max DePree
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.Peter Drucker
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.John F. Kennedy
One of the hardest tasks of leadership is understanding that you are not what you are, but what you’re perceived to be by others.Edward L. Flom

Why Followers Surrender to a Leaders Authority

By William Oncken

This concept of authority as something that causes another person to “do what you want him to do” is reflected in most definitions of leadership. For instance, the Random House Dictionary of the English Language speaks of authority as “a power or right to direct the actions or thoughts of others. Authority is a power or right, usually because of rank or office, to issue commands and to punish for violations.”

Authority is comprised of four elements:

  1. The Authority of Competence: the more competent the other fellow knows you are, the more confident he will be that you know what you are talking about and the more likely he will be to follow your orders, requests, or suggestions. He will think of you as an authority in the matter under consideration and will feel it risky to ignore your wishes.
  2. The Authority of Position: This component gives you the right to tell someone, “Do it or else.” It has teeth. “The boss wants it” is a bugle call that can snap many an office or shop into action.
  3. The Authority of Personality: The easier it is for the other fellow to talk to you, to listen to you, or to work with you, the easier he will find it to respond to your wishes.
  4. The Authority of Character: This component is your “credit rating” with other people as to your integrity, reliability, honesty, loyalty, sincerity, personal morals, and ethics. Obviously you will get more and better from a man who has respect for your character than from one who hasn’t.
The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.Colin Powell
An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.Stephen Covey
Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.Harry S Truman

Penthouse or Outhouse?

By Charles Swindoll

In typical fashion, when George Allen moved to Washington, D.C., as head coach of the Redskins, he promised the nation’s capital the moon. He told them it would be just a few seasons before he would develop the Redskins into a championship football team. He promised them the Super Bowl by the second season. The team had a brilliant preseason that first year. Then, early in the regular season, they won several amazing victories. It appeared the Redskins were to be lifted from their common role of loser to the uncommon role of winner. As time passed, however, the inevitable occurred. They began to lose and lose and lose. The blame fell, at least in part, not on Coach George Allen, but on a quarterback named Sonny Jurgenson, in my opinion one of the most gifted and effective quarterbacks to ever play the game. Jurgenson possesses a quality I deeply admire: personal security. It seems as though no one can intimidate Sonny Jurgenson.

One day after another defeat, Sonny was getting ready to take a shower and go home. A sportswriter leaned over to him in the locker room and said, “Say, Sonny, be honest now. Don’t all these off-the-wall remarks we write and all this public flack disturb you? Doesn’t it make you want to quit when people throw things at you from the stands and when you get those dirty letters?”

Sonny just leaned back, gave a big, toothless grin, and sighed, “No, not really, I don’t want to quit. I’ve been in this game long enough to know that every quarterback, every week of the season, spends his time either in the penthouse or in the outhouse.”

Sonny’s comment points out an important fact. It is true that if you are a leader, you spend your time either on the top or on the bottom. You seldom know what it’s like to be in between. You are either the hero or the villain. You are respected or you are virtually hated. People in leadership must live on the yo-yo of public opinion, under the gun of verbal jabs as well as on the crest of great admiration. Being “in the outhouse” is a lot more difficult than those choice times “in the penthouse.” It’s when we are under verbal attack of the intimidating public that we show our true colors.

What a Leader Must Do!

By Bruce Brown

If your team is struggling, the leader must…

  1. Have a tremendous amount of energy everyday
  2. Be able to create energy within the team
  3. Be strong enough to put everyone on his/her shoulders
  4. Eliminate excuses, obstacles and focus only on solutions
  5. Communicate a clear vision of where the team is going
  6. Communicate hope and belief for people who haven’t had any
  7. Choose core covenants that no one can disagree with
  8. Celebrate every small success
  9. Be a relationship builder
  10. Be the model of where the team is going

If your team is stuck in average, the leader must

  1. Not be afraid of change…Be willing to shake things up
  2. Change and expand the vision
  3. Create challenging core covenants
  4. Be willing to change who is on your team
  5. Eliminate people who will not commit to the core covenants or who are satisfied with average
  6. Bring in people who can add value and energy to your team
  7. Celebrate all positive changes and growth – Lift people up
  8. Build confidence within the team through work and preparation
  9. Develop an inner circle based on commitment, not talent
  10. Make the tough decisions and have the tough conversations

If your team is strong and successful, the leader must…

  1. Enjoy the experience but remember the path you followed to get here
  2. Watch for slippage – Great programs don’t implode, they fray
  3. Keep looking for an edge – small things that can make a difference
  4. Communicate successes
  5. Develop and empower “culture and covenant keepers” within your team
  6. Be uncomfortable being comfortable
  7. Protect your team – Keep your arms around the inner circle of committed people
  8. Do constant maintenance – Continually clarify your team covenants
  9. Have people you trust, come and observe you and your team for weaknesses
  10. Share leadership – let your leaders lead – Increase the teams investment in the culture

Leadership and the Promise

Our society today is in big trouble because of a lack of real leadership. Every day we place people into positions of leadership (title), who don’t possess the qualities of leader. Then we wonder why we have problems! We do this in all sectors of our society with coaches, teachers, administrators, managers, supervisors, pastors, and politicians.

The problem is that real leadership derives its authority first from the force of a leader’s ability to engage and transform people’s hearts, and not merely from the power of a “position” or “title”. People who are placed into positions of leadership with no leadership abilities usually end up leading solely through manipulation of people by rules, threats, and rewards. This is not real leadership; its exploitation. Real leadership motivates people from the inside, by stirring their heart, not by beating them on the head.

Each and every “transformation” of human being starts with a change in their heart. They put on a “new” man or woman. The change in their heart is more often than not, initiated by a “promise” made to them by a leader. In one of my favorite quotes on leadership, you discover, “ A real leader kindles the vision of a breathtaking future so as to justify the sacrifice of a transitory present. “ That’s making a promise (kindling a vision). The leader promises the follower that if they can maintain hope, keep the faith, and endure the sacrifices of this presently unbearable situation, when they come out the other end, they will have a rich reward.

The follower then comes to not only believe in the promise, but to treasure it. Followers with weak characters have a hard time continuing to treasure a leader’s promise. It is easy for them to break faith, be distracted by worldly enticements, believe the cries of other fearful followers, lose focus on the promise, lose hope and stray. Followers with weak characters need constant encouragement.

The more you look around, the more it seems as though we live in a world with no hope. That means that there are not enough promises being made by real leaders. So I have to ask all you leaders out there, every coach, every teacher, every pastor, every administrator, every manager, every politician, everyone who leads others……. What promise are you making to your follower’s that kindles in their hearts the vision of a breathtaking future so beautiful that it justifies the sacrifices of the transitory and painful present they are living in?

What promise is motivating our teenagers to build their characters, excel at academically, and graduate?

What promise is motivating our teachers to teach enthusiastically and with inexhaustible patience towards students?

What promise is motivating company employees to work hard, sacrifice, and put the company first?

What promise, made by a politician that you supported, has stirred your heart so much so that you treasure it?

If you want to really lead, then make your followers a promise that they will believe and treasure in their hearts deeply.