Consultants, analysts, academes, and pretty much every assorted pontificating polemic seem to spend countless hours trying to dissect that beast called "leadership." As Bill wrote a couple years ago,
To be a leader, a manager should master Accountability Leadership,
Collaborative Leadership and Contagious Leadership. He should get his
or her arms around the Tao of Leadership and learn how to Lead From the
Front and know Leadership That Works. There is Zen Leadership (perhaps
this is the 102 version of the Tao of Leadership?), Spiritual, Ethical,
Inspirational and Moral Leadership – all separate approaches. There is
a 5th Wave of Leadership to master (no first through fourth, however),
along with Thought Leadership, Facilitative Leadership, Systematic
Leadership and, most important, I would imagine, Grown Up Leadership.
In order to keep all of this straight, leadership has been organized
into 4 E's, 5 Personalities, 6 Priorities, 7 Zones, 8 Keys, 9 Lessons,
10 Common Sense Lessons (apparently the 9 Lessons defy common sense),
21 Principles, 50 Basic Laws, 124 Actions and 180 Ways – each a
For help along the way, the would-be leader should read up on
Abraham Lincoln, Attila The Hun, Santa Claus and basketball coach John
Wooden. Jesus, the Founding Fathers and the US Army Rangers all have
leadership lessons to teach, as do Teddy and Eleanor Roosevelt (not
Franklin, though), Alfred Sloan, Martin Luther King and Six University
Presidents (the rest of the academic folks are not leadership examples
– just 6 of them). Jack Welch, the old rebel Robert E Lee and TV
characters the Sopranos are leadership paragons to study. George
Patton, Ronald Reagan, Alexander The Great, the Navy Seals and arctic
explorer Robert Shackleton have leadership principles, practices and
secrets to adopt, as does Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – better known as
It's really not that hard. Perhaps they should just run down to their nearest elementary school and ask a third grader. From my small-town paper this morning, which asked a bunch of schoolkids "what are the qualities of a good leader?" I won't give the names so they don't get an internet bio even before they become teenagers, although who knows… maybe we should keep an eye on them.
A good leader needs to have patience but be firm. They need to be open to listen. They can't be bossy. When I think of a good leader I think of my mom.
I know one person that is a great leader and that is my mom. She is nice, trustworthy and strong.
A good leader should be able to change things and have the will to do it.
A good leader knows what's best for his or her people. They help you learn, the do what's best to help you have a great future. My teacher is a great leader.
My basketball coach is a good leader (otherwise known as my dad). He never puts people down and he always encourages us if we're losing. He always says that we can come back and beat the other team.
Notice a common theme? An understanding of people and a desire to get the best out of people by supporting and teaching. Not pound suppliers into the sand, not shave a few cents of "cost" by eliminating "headcount." These kids get it. Perhaps more of us should spend time with kids instead of supposed gurus.