Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's Your Take on Leadership?


Webster defines leader as a person who has commanding authority or influence. Webster's definition of lead has multiple components but the one most of us accept is to guide along the way.

Clear as mud, like many definitions. Guide, or lead, implies being at the head of a line composed of people who follow. I get that. But who picks the leader? What's the way? Is there only one way? Who gets to determine the way?

Are leaders simply born, knowing intuitively they are chosen to guide the line of followers? Are leaders built, created, developed? And what about followers? Are they born with the follower gene? Can someone be a leader without positioning himself or herself at the front of the line, on the stage, or at the top of the mountain?

When I think of the leaders I've known personally, they seem to step naturally into leadership roles. They're the people who don't hesitate to offer up suggestions or answer questions. They're the people with vision and passion. They're also the people who seldom hesitate to stick their necks out and take risks. Most of the leaders I know elicit three specific emotions from other people: trust, awe, and envy.
Jeffrey Gitomer posted an article on his website recently (http://bit.ly/fp50Mp) and he discusses his take on leadership--which prompted my little rant. He goes into a bit more detail than I do, and has a longer lists of the characteristics of an effective leader.

What's YOUR take on leadership? What qualities do you think define an effective leader? What type of person do you want to follow ... or NOT follow?

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