I love to watch a great leader at work, and I’ve had the honor of working for a few of them. I wanted to follow these leaders.
I’ve also had the unfortunate experience of working for poor leaders who cared more about their vacation days than the people who worked for them. I wanted to leave these leaders.
A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.
— Gen. John J. Pershing
Whether we’re at home with small children, teaching a class or solving business problems as a manager, people are looking to us for leadership. The question is, do we take our leadership role seriously?
3 Ways to Determine Your Leadership Skills
If you want to figure out what a great leader is, you don’t need to buy the latest book on leadership. Just ask yourself these three questions:
Go through the process a couple more times and consider other leaders that influenced you in your life. Look at the characteristics that keep repeating.
In your current leadership positions, do you exhibit these characteristics? Or have you been “trained” to be more of a manager than a leader? Are you so busy handling process and paperwork that you’ve lost sight of the people in front of you? Do you encourage people to be better?
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. — John Quincy Adams
My Favorite Leader
One of my favorite leaders was my third grade teacher, Ms. Giovando. She expected a lot and was often tough on me. When I turned in work that was less than adequate, she threw it in the trash. I know many parents would flinch at this, but even at the age of eight I knew the work wasn’t good. She only did this a couple of times, and it certainly wasn’t fun, but I got the message. She demanded more of me, and I would go back to my desk and deliver it.
She also took me to the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market one Saturday because I won the book report contest. She gave me money to spend and put her arm around me as we walked around. We laughed together, and she told me how proud she was of me and how hard I worked on my book reports.
The next Monday it was back to the usual drill. She was tough on me again, and I knew why. She cared enough to put energy into my development.
Your Turn: Leadership Stories
We’ve all followed great leaders. Now we need to remember them, write down how they made a difference in our lives and study those characteristics. I’d love to know more about your favorite leaders. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments section below!
What leader made the biggest difference in your life? What are one or two things they did that made you want to follow them?