Leadership has been defined by a multitude of highly intelligent and talented individuals. I am, by no means, an expert on this topic and do not profess any special knowledge or talents in this area. Each of us brings a unique knowledge base and skill set to effectively lead our people. Therefore, we are each uniquely qualified to set the example of how leadership should look. In my opinion, leadership is about influence, advocacy, courage, service and genuineness.
Influence – Leadership allows one to be influential to key stakeholders throughout an organization and between organizations. To have this influence a leader has to have integrity, competency, credibility, and be inspirational. A leader has to “walk the talk” by leading by example and modeling the behavior that others should aspire to emulate.
Advocacy – Advocacy works in many directions. A good leader advocates up and down the chain. The leader should continuously be the voice for those that lack the same access or influence and help promote organizational values throughout all levels.
Courage – A leader has the courage to make tough and unpopular decisions. These tough and unpopular decisions will be better received when a leader has built a foundation of trust and respect. Also, having the courage to stand in the gap, using your influence, for those that may not have the same access will garner respect and loyalty.
Service – A leader serves. A leader provides the tools and resources needed to ensure the success of the organization. A servant leader puts others before themselves by advocacy, mentoring, and support. Leadership should be a collaborative endeavor and is strengthened by building teams based on trust, cooperation, and accountability.
Genuineness – The genuineness of an individual is proven daily. A leader consistently displays integrity, honor and courage. A leader does not compromise core beliefs and values to fit a particular situation. This is not to imply that a leader cannot change their mind or change positions, however, values and core beliefs should not waiver to adapt to the current trends or popular opinions.
Leadership teams are most successful when there is a diversity of thought, experience and opinions, with each member bringing unique qualities to leadership and to the team. Although, specific qualities define who we are as a leader, there is no “one size fits all” solution. Together we are stronger and it takes a team to ensure success. No one member is more important than the team and no one should try to fit any individual in a specific leadership mold. Bring your unique knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to bear on organization issues and be humble enough to know when you don’t have all the answers.