Each of you has found moments in life where you have felt it desirable to become a leader in some situation.

Each of you has, also, discovered in your professional lives that titles do not necessarily equate with leadership — in fact, they seldom do.

Titles are an indication of power and, in order to keep receiving a paycheck, we generally do what those with higher titles ask of us.

But, what is leadership?

Dwight David Eisenhower defined it very well:  “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he (sic) wants to do it.”

You see examples everywhere — on the shop floor, participating in or watching athletic events, or in your clubs or social organizations.  Something needs to be done and someone with the commitment (or charisma) steps up which, in turn, energizes the group to work for a common goal. 

It need not be a corporate manager, supervisor, or captain of a team.  No, you’ve observed examples of spontaneous leadership many times and have, then, seen others willingly follow to realize a shared cause.

There are many articles written on leadership and its common traits.  A Google search will reward you with many descriptions and definitions.

However, for me, there is one common denominator that stands out:  The overriding commitment to “get something accomplished” no matter the obstacles.

One may fail in the attempt but, if the goal is seen by others as worthy, leadership can ignite a group to work together for the collective goal.

Teddy Roosevelt said it best, “.  .  . The credit belongs to the man (sic) who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,  .  .  . “

And consider the cost of not stepping into the arena to try and really do something:  What happens when we have “excuse makers” — those individuals (often with a title) who blame others and outside circumstances for their failures to achieve?

We see that all the time — the nay sayers.  And, when it involves individuals with titles it can often do damage to one’s organization.

Today, unfortunately, we even find the “blame someone else” individual in the very highest ranks of government and corporate organizations.

That is why when each of us face moments of leadership opportunity, it is important to act.  If we keep our eye on the mission, are able to communicate to others our passion for the task, and refrain from excusing our failures on outside circumstances or individuals, we will have exhibited true leadership — whether or not we achieve our desired goals.

Your company, family and friends, and even your country can benefit from your leadership actions.  You’ll win some, you’ll lose others — but, you will, in that moment, have worn the worthy mantle of “leader!”

 More on Monday  –  –  –

    — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

   February 22, 2017

   www.itclearning.com/blog/  (Mondays & Wednesdays)


 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner, jhbillwalton@gmail.com, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)