Help Wanted: A Leader…

This article is about leadership. Leaders run companies big and small. And countries, states and local governments. So, what makes a good leader? Leadership coaches and consultants offer these observations:

  • A good leader leads by example, not by imposing strict rules or threats.
  • A good leader shoulders the blame when things go badly and happily shares the credit when things go well.
  • A good leader says “we” instead of “me”.
  • Good leaders surround themselves with colleagues who have varying views, not “yes men/women” who imitate them.
  • A good leader has his or her ego in check and does not require worship or adulation.
  • Good leaders have the self-confidence which allows them to accept failure or mistake, realizing that mistakes can actually have positive outcomes if you learn from them.
  • A good leader is open-minded and considers alternative solutions.
  • Good leaders encourage challenging views and realize that they are not the lone source of wisdom in an organization.
  • A good leader allows for the possibility that he or she is not always the smartest person in the room.
  • The best leaders make their subordinates proud.

Over the last 35 years in practice I have had the opportunity to work with many business leaders and entrepreneurs and I am happy to say that the vast majority of our business clients are organizations run by leaders who share in many of these qualities. That’s the good news!

The bad news? It seems that we lack for real leadership in government at all levels.

Ask yourself this question: Do our elected officials display the leadership qualities listed above? (The question is rhetorical.)

How is it that the private sector can produce quality business leaders while the political/governmental sector fails miserably? The answer might to be accountability. In business, if you are a poor leader your company fails and goes out of business. Poor leaders produce poor results which quickly destroys business. In government, unfortunately, there seems to be no real accountability for poor leadership. Our country suffers, our people suffer, but the politicians seem to face little or no consequence. The American democratic experiment launched in 1789 with our Constitution assumed that political leaders would act with the interest of the people first and foremost, i.e. for the “common good”. Sadly, that founding principle has been eroded of late.

As the title says: HELP WANTED: A LEADER…

– Kevin Palmer

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