Thoughts on Leadership

A friend is moving into a leadership role for the first time and we talked some about making that transition. Here’s a guy with tons of skills and life experience, taking on a new challenge and totally out of his comfort zone, what advice to offer? Here’s my try at it.

There are a lot of different approaches to leadership and different styles. How you do it matters of course, but if I could tell a beginning leader one thing it would be; do it the way that fits you.

Pretty Zen.

Still, when it comes to leaders and leading, I’ve found this to be useful advice to share:

  • Leaders are the ones with the vision for tomorrow
  • They take their vision and build consensus for doing it, often modifying the vision as part of that process
  • They act as the face and the voice of their organization, at least internally (we don’t all get a Gecko for our commercials)

Good leaders do all three. Mandating a vision doesn’t work. Only following the group doesn’t work. And letting someone else tell the troops what the vision is doesn’t work either.

Leading is by it’s nature lonely. You get the blame when it goes wrong, often people are fighting your agenda for petty reasons (and sometimes good ones), and the credit goes to the people that do the work (if you’re a good leader).

Leading isn’t the same as managing. Lots of decent to good managers in the world, a whole lot fewer leaders. Leaders dare to dream. Doesn’t mean they don’t mistakes – they do, sometimes it’s the wrong dream. But organizations need direction,and direction usually stems directly from that vision of what might be.

Hope it helps!

One thought on “Thoughts on Leadership

  1. I think that’s a pretty good definition. I’d expand it a bit by saying that being able to communicate your vision is something that leaders do.

    I’d also agree that leading is not the same as managing. Good managers may not be good leaders and the reverse is true as well. A good leader is not always a good manager. Which leads to another thing a good leader does, build a team that has the pieces needed to make the vision reality.


Comments are closed.