Leadership DNA

Education Through Leadership DNAWhat’s your definition of Leadership? In thinking about the comments I’ve received from readers on the topic of leadership I noticed an interesting paradox…while many of you vehemently disagree on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of different leadership styles, most of you are in total agreement on the qualities and attributes possessed by great leaders regardless of style. In further pondering this dichotomy an interesting thought came to mind – If I could genetically engineer the perfect leadership gene what qualities and characteristics would constitute the architecture of leadership DNA? In today’s blog post I’ll attempt to paint the portrait of the perfect leader…

So, what traits would my perfect leader possess? Courage, character, vision, wisdom, integrity, empathy, persistence, compassion, aggressivity, discernment, commitment, confidence, a bias to action, a servant’s heart, determination, creativity, self-discipline, love, loyalty, confidence, outstanding decisioning ability, engaged, authentic, transparent, a great strategic thinker, passion, a positive attitude, intelligence, humility, great communication skills, common sense, generosity, the ability to identify and develop great talent, creating a certainty of execution, attention to detail, faith, an active listener, a prolific learner, respect for others, innovative, excellent tactical capability, charisma, extreme focus, a high risk tolerance, a broad range of competencies, and the list goes on…

If any of you possess all the above attributes please forward your resume to my attention! All kidding aside, the longer my list of desirable qualities became, the more I realized the frivolity of this exercise…There is no perfect leader; only the right leader for a given situation. As I’ve said in other posts, great leaders have the innate ability to call on the right skills in a contextually and environmentally appropriate fashion. No single leader can possess every needed attribute. It not the traits you possess as a leader, but what you do with them that matter. If I were successful in my genetic engineering exercise I would no doubt have created a leader who would be driven crazy by emotional and intellectual conflicts.

Leadership DNA aside, I recently crafted my definition of leadership. It contains what I believe to be the necessary qualities a leader must possess to be successful. While it’s a bit wordy, I’ve found it to inclusively articulate the principles needed for effective leadership :

“Leadership is the professed desire and commitment to serve others by subordinating personal interests to the needs of those being led through effectively demonstrating the experience, wisdom and discernment necessary to leverage trust & influence to cause the right things, to happen for the right reasons, at the right times.”

Since one of the leadership qualities I noted in the laundry list above is wisdom, I thought I’d leave you with the wisdom of others…Spend a few minutes pondering the quotes below as you consider some of the qualities which play into the make-up of great leaders:

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
– Abraham Lincoln

“There can be no power without mystery. There must always be a ‘something’ which others cannot altogether fathom, which puzzles them, stirs them, and rivets their attention…. Nothing more enhances authority than silence. It is the crowning virtue of the strong, the refuge of the weak, the modesty of the proud, the pride of the humble, the prudence of the wise, and the sense of fools.”
– Charles de Gaulle

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
– Albert Einstein

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”
– Stephen R. Covey

“It’s not the will to win that matters…everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”
– Paul “Bear” Bryant

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
– Lee Iacocca

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
– Willa A. Foster

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
– John Wayne

“The true leader serves. Serves people. Serves their best interests, and in doing so will not always be popular, may not always impress. But because true leaders are motivated by loving concern than a desire for personal glory, they are willing to pay the price.”
– Eugene B. Habecker

“Doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results, is the definition of crazy.”
– Unknown

“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.”
– John Scully

“The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”
– Woodrow Wilson

“Even if you’re on the right track you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
– Will Rogers

“When we are debating an issue, loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I’ll like it or not. Disagreement, at this state, stimulates me. But once a decision is made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.”
– General Colin Powell

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
– Dale Carnegie

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
– Helen Keller

“Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no persuasion move thee, to do anything which thou knowest to be evil; so shalt thou always live jollity; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas.”
– Benjamin Franklin

“A person who is fundamentally honest doesn’t need a code of ethics. The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are all the ethical code anybody needs.”
– Harry S. Truman

Please comment below sharing your thoughts and insights on what you believe defines great leadership.

Source Mike Myatt

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