Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What Makes a Leader?

Being a leader is not defined by:
  • Having the highest salary
  • Having a big title
  • Having the most tenure
  • Having an expensive degree or certification
  • Having the most skill and knowledge in a discipline
  • Having the most opinions
A leader is someone who:
  • Motivates others without threats or coercion
  • Can enforce the rules without pissing people off
  • Realizes that you can't always make everyone happy
  • Can discern between best practices and the best for the situation
  • Can see and analyze conflicts from all sides
  • Places the interests of the team above her own
  • Draws out the quiet voices and speaks up for those who won't/can't
  • Is willing to be unpopular but doesn't wear it as a badge of honor
  • Owns his mistakes
In short, a leader is not defined by what you HAVE but who you ARE.

Funny thing is, I can't think of one single word that appropriately describes a good leader other than "leader." On the other hand, if you're a bad leader, you could be described as a jerk or a jackass, and the list goes on. Even if you're the boss that doesn't mean you're a leader. Being bossy is just an adult synonym for being a bully. A good leader shines with Honesty, Integrity, and Respect. Those only expose themselves through how a person approaches and reacts to a situation and the way they treat others.

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