As you may know, leadership is simply the ability to attain followers. Leaders throughout history commonly possess certain traits and characteristics in order to create an environment where followers buy into the practices and ideas of their leadership. The uniqueness of the leader’s attributes causes them to emerge into this role. But what are these specific attributes and how can emerging leaders develop their skills?
Traditional Christian values - those accepted principles and standards of behavior that America was founded on - have eroded to the point where they have become irrelevant in today's society. As one thinks about the future of this country, individuals (and society collectively) must begin to wonder what America will look like in 20 or 30 years if things continue as they are. Not that long ago, religion and family created universal values and norms (Kuczmarski and Kuczmarski, 1995). However, in America today there is a prevailing secular worldview that dominates society and as a result, traditional values based on Biblical foundations and Christian principles have been and continue to be under constant attack. From those advocating abortion rights and homosexuality to infidelity in marriage and blatant disrespect for those in authority, the values that the United States of America was founded on appear to be dying a quick death. With these thoughts in mind, leaders throughout American business, government, and the church must seek to understand where the values this country was founded on had their origins so today’s generation can, as it states in Deuteronomy 4:9, "teach them to our children and our grandchildren."
As consumers Americans have come to expect an incredible variety of choices… And we’ve got them. Every day we are faced with increasing numbers of choices:
- Which of the thousands of cable channels do you watch?
- How do you like your coffee? What drive-through do you get it from?
- Do you cook for yourself or choose to become a valued customer at Mighty Taco
Then there are the more involved decisions like who we add as ‘friends’ on Facebook or follow on Twitter and the weighted decisions we make that have budget implications.
“It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” - Roy Disney
You can't lead others until you can lead yourself. You also can't motivate others unless you can first motivate yourself. The microcosm of the leader as an individual sets up the macro environment around them. Esteemed leadership author John Maxwell sees this fact as critical. In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, law number one (of twenty-one) is the 'Law of the Lid'. What it says is that the capacity of the organization and its people will be largely determined by the capability and motivations of the leader.
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” - C. S. Lewis
Great and effective leaders know that time is the most precious commodity and resource they must manage and leverage. This is because unlike money, energy and talent, time is not a renewable commodity or resource. You only get to spend it once and how time is spent determines the bulk of life’s most significant outcomes. When leaders are good stewards of time, they are content with the present, benefit from their past and establish preferred futures.
4 Observations from Women in Leadership
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
We just celebrated the inauguration of the first female president here at Roberts Wesleyan College. She’s dynamic, energetic, genuine and creating the vision for our future. It’s an exciting time here, and I think she is the type of leader who is going to “turn it up to 11!”
Originally published in Journal of Healthcare Information Management, Fall 2012, Volume 26, Number 4
The healthcare landscape changes quickly and successful organizations must adapt quickly if they hope to be competitive and profitable. Unfortunately, larger, more complex organizations seem to have a hard time implementing change.
Amidst all kinds of interest these days in things like renewable energy sources and personal wellness, one has to wonder why we don't see more written in the popular press on the subject of renewing people. It is a discussion that should be facilitated by leaders. Author Robert Greenleaf is credited with coining the term 'servant-leadership' and one of the ten characteristics that he deemed critical to servant-leadership is 'healing and serving.' In defining this healing trait he went on to say that "...implicit in the compact between servant-leader and led [those he or she leads], is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something they share" (Greenleaf, 1991, p. 27).
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
Great leaders make a tangible impact. I have worked for a few great leaders in my more than 20-years in business and marketing and I often reflect on what I’ve learned from them. In my times of reflection, I ask myself how I can apply those lessons to my current leadership role. These leaders took on challenges and, just as often, acted as “challengers.” That effort and determination drove success. Looking back, I achieved so much professionally under their leadership. So here are a few thoughts that you can use:
Lessons from the Battle of Trafalgar
It’s a little celebrated fact here in the United States that 2005 marked the 200th anniversary of the naval Battle of Trafalgar – a naval battle in which the English fleet under the renowned leadership of Admiral Horatio Viscount Nelson soundly defeated a larger French and Spanish force under the leadership of French Admiral Pierre de Villeneuve. More importantly, this battle, fought on October 21, 1805, was the most pivotal naval battle of the 19th Century because it ended Napoleon’s hopes of invading England – one of the few pieces of European real-estate that was not subject to his otherwise complete domination of the continent at the time (Wikipedia). This critical engagement marks the beginning of Napoleon Bonaparte’s demise. Despite the fact that the French commander had 33 ships committed to battle, while the English navy had just 27 ships, the English completely dominated the battle. The allies lost 22 ships; the English did not lose a single vessel.