Where Have All The Leaders Gone?
Any organization, whether for profit or non-profit, depends on successful and effective leadership to provide direction. Every organizational issue, every management decision that is made or postponed, is ultimately a product of leadership. Find an organization achieving excellence and you will find leadership effectiveness. Find failure and you will find leadership failure as well. But despite our need for genuine leadership, throughout our society we are suffering from a leadership void. It seems that regardless of which direction we turn, we notice a lack of principled, devoted, committed leaders. Whether in the arena of politics, business, education or religion there all too often exists a leadership vacuum and it appears as if the true leader is more of a dream than a reality.
All around us people are searching for leaders as we instinctively seek out leaders and recognize the necessity for quality leadership in all areas of life. The leadership landscape looks desolate and barren and even a casual observer wonders, “Where have all the leaders gone?”
But can we really expect to have leaders lead? Isn’t that asking just a bit too much? At Leadership Dynamics we don’t think so. Based upon our own research and personal experience have grown basic leadership assumptions. These foundational values form the basis of our approach to leadership. They are as follows:
1.Every person can lead
Although most of do not think of ourselves as leaders, we are. If leadership is influence, and I believe it is, then we all display leadership characteristics as we influence and impact others. Although not everyone is called upon to serve as a United States senator or the president of a large corporation, every person has an impact on others in their sphere of influence. Perhaps it is their family, friends, coworkers or the sales clerk you see daily as you buy your cup of coffee on the way to work. No matter who you are, every person is a leader and has capacity for leadership.
2. Potential leaders may be born, but effective leaders are made
The question is often asked: “Are leaders born or made?” My response is usually the same: “In all my travels, I have never met a leader that wasn’t born!” Leaders are born and so are followers! In fact all people are born…babies! We are not born teacher-babies, policeman-babies, doctor-babies or leader-babies. Although we recognize that some individuals have certain characteristics that predispose them to leadership roles, everyone can develop and improve their leadership capabilities. While a few individuals may have added advantages, their leadership success is not determined by heritage, lineage or their political connections. Those things may get someone in the front door, but only leadership proficiency will keep them there. Every person is born with leadership potential and provided the suitable training and appropriate opportunity, can be molded into an effective leader
3.Effective leadership is the result of opportunity, training and experience
This does not mean that if given the same opportunities all will rise to the same level of leadership. Not everyone can be president of the company, principal of the school or senior pastor of the mega-church. Without training, experience and opportunity it is highly unlikely that any person will realize their leadership potential to the maximum. However, given the proper mix of these three components the individual who seems to be destined for mediocrity can emerge as an effective leader as his leadership quotient is developed.
4. The best way to learn to lead is to lead
You can’t take swimming lessons on dry land — you have to get into the water! Basically the best way to learn is by doing. Obviously this is not true in every situation and certainly there are exceptions to the rule. Who would eagerly volunteer to allow the neophyte surgeon to “learn” the intricacies of heart surgery on them? Or who would anxiously board the 747 bound for England that had just had its engines rebuilt by the person who was learning airplane mechanics by trial and error? But in the case of leadership, the only way to effectively learn is to lead. There is no substitute for being in the trenches, belly to belly, planning events, motivating others and actually getting things done. Leaders will sometimes fail, but that is part of learning and part of leadership. It may be painful, but failure is not final.
At Leadership Dynamics we want to change the way you think about leadership. Leadership is not about a position or a title; privileges or entitlements. Leadership is everybody’s business. We all possess the capacity for leadership, but only those who cultivate it will ever become truly effective leaders. Leadership Dynamics is committed to encourage you to develop the leader in you — to become an active participant in shaping your future and the future of others.