One of the most important topics covered in my book, Rethink Happy, is leadership. Cleve leads those under him both at home and at work. Leadership may seem like it’s all glory, but it has two primary components: Vision and the ability to persuade others to buy into it. Everything else that is often associated with leadership such as delegation, management, accountability, goal-setting, etc. are all byproducts of vision and recruitment.
Think of it this way: if you don’t know where you want to go, how can you lead anyone else there? And if you have this wonderful vision, but can’t convince anyone else to join you, how far can you really go? Plus, authentic leadership implies you have others following you on your journey.
What qualities does a good leader need?
There are many great qualities to a good leader, but the most important are the ability to envision the future and get others to engage in it. After this, integrity, communication skills, and humility are most important.
Integrity is essentially doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s also following through in terms of holding yourself and others accountable.
Finally, for me, it’s about being morally sound. Unfortunately, there are many today who think there are no absolutes or universal truths. This is silly. There is truth and goodness and beauty. And it is up to us to search for it, find it and then allow our lives to be guided by it. Of course in my worldview the “it” is God.
Communication skills are essential because no one can be led without knowing what the plan is. Or clearly understanding what the expectations are. Or, in most cases, without receiving regular coaching in the form of positive and constructive feedback.
Humility may be the odd one out for you. But it may be the most important after vision. Why? Because the minute hubris enters into leadership, those who are being led will be operating on superficial motives.
Why money isn’t enough
Money and success can entice good people to be led for awhile. But eventually this will fade and the best people will search out a leader who sincerely cares about their professional and personal success. This can only take place if the leader is truly humble and approaches his position of authority with reverence and with the mind of a servant.
Yes, leadership is about achieving a vision, but it is more importantly about serving and being grateful for those who have “volunteered” their talent for the cause. I say volunteer because the most talented people can work anywhere they want. So by choosing to follow your vision they are in a sense volunteers and should be treated as such. For more on this subject, check out Leadership Challenges by Kouzes and Posner.
Who is Doug? Doug Kisgen is an author, entrepreneur and personality expert. His primary work? Raising his five kids with his wife of 20+ years in the hill country of Texas. For ways to put these ideas into practice, check out Doug’s book, Rethink Happy: An Entrepreneur’s Journey Toward Authentic Joy, available now as an e-book or in paperback!