One of the most important topics for any organization that is committed to be fair to its shareholders, its stakeholders and its customers is leadership. Without it, goals will not be attained – and maybe not even set. The organization will become whatever it will, because organizations tend to have the ability to progress in some direction when there is not a clear path established. But that rarely, if ever, is anything that is in the best interest of those with an earned, vested interest.
Leadership is a topic that almost everyone considers at some time – and many frequently. The question is not just what is leadership, but what responsibility does leadership have? The foundation of strong organizations should be based upon leadership. From the United States Navy Seal Creed “…uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond….I lead by example in all situations.” Now that is a commitment to leadership.
There are a great number of quotes about leadership – some well-known, and others more obscure. Here are some that come to mind when I think about leadership. These are an important way of life for some. However, many of the sensationalized activities surrounding organizations, and particularly Universities, during the last few months, indicate that true leadership is not the fiber of all people in positions of great responsibility, even though others hold them in high esteem.
“Although leadership may be hard to define, the one characteristic common to all leaders is the ability to make things happen.” Ted W. Engstrom
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren G. Bennis
“You get the best efforts from others not by lighting a fire beneath then, but by building a fire within.” Bob Nelson.
“The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.” Zig Ziglar.
Whatever your role within your organization, are you effectively using your leadership to contribute to the organization’s success? When you are interviewing candidates do you evaluate their leadership, and how it fits your organization?
If you are actively looking for a job, have you defined your leadership style, and identified the type of organization where you will make the greatest contribution? During interviews do you focus on understanding the culture of the organization you are considering? This is one way to be certain an opportunity is truly a career, not just a job.