Over the years, I’ve read countless books on what constitutes a great leader, though admittedly the characters they describe often seem elusive to me.
One only has to turn on the news, surf the internet or go about their daily lives to quickly learn that while these books may very well have captured what truly comprises a great leader, the individuals who should be reading these books are not.
The subject of what makes a great leader is incredibly broad – with many believing they have a firm understanding of what such a prestigious title entails based on character and behavior.
But the fact of the matter is that many so-called leaders are severely lacking and not properly trained on how to engage and communicate with others.
One of my absolute favorite quotes about leadership comes from American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker Jim Rohn.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly.”
That is an awesome task to undertake for even the most skilled of individuals, and certainly not for those who lack empathy and humility.
But they dear readers are who we find leading us the majority of the time.
They are so focused on always being in control and having the loudest voice in the conversation while being shortsighted to the thoughts and feelings of others.
What eventually happens is they lose sight of the fact that leadership is less about industry aptitude and more about how to effectively and consistently engage with others.
Famed American businessman Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
For those of you who have been graciously bestowed the title of “leader”, have you made the shift to start growing others around you – leading them with empathy and humility rather than ego and contempt? Or are you still more concerned with simply “being the boss”?
Set your defensiveness aside and ask yourself these difficult questions. Ask yourself, are you a great leader in the eyes of the people you lead? They deserve to know the answers.