Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lesson on Leadership

What is leadership? Is it necessary? Do you have to be happy in order to be a leader? Or do you have to be a leader in order to be happy? These are all good questions. I had a discussion with my husband last night about what leadership is. I used to have the belief that some people were born to be followers (myself in particular) and that they should stay that way and that some were born to be leaders. While I still think we are all born with natural tendencies one way or the other I think it's necessary for all of us to develop leadership skills and attitudes in many respects at least. The more I studied leadership and what it is I soon realized it is about character and integrity and taking responsibility. Are these necessary for living and for happiness??? That's up to you to decide...

General Colin Powell, a very wise and successful American leader has a lot to say about leadership. This is just one of his lessons he taught on leadership.

"Being responsible sometimes means [making people mad]."

Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It's inevitable if you're honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: You'll avoid the tough decisions, you'll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you'll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset. Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally "nicely" regardless of their contributions, you'll simply ensure that the only people you'll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.

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