John C. Maxwell one of the most prolific leadership writer of our time. In his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, says this:
"What makes people want to follow a leader? Why do people reluctantly comply with one leader while passionately following another to the ends of the earth? What separates leadership theorists from successful leaders who lead effectively in the real world? The answer lies in the character qualities of the individual person … leadership truly develops from the inside out."
Real leaders, in contrast to bossy overlords who try to manipulate underlings’ compliance, loyalty or teamwork, understand how to be a positive example day in and day out. Real leaders build-up, support and encourage. They value competence and communication and work on it in themselves. They have focus, vision, and the courage to take risks. They are generous with their wisdom, remain humble, and know when to shut up and listen.
From the Tao Te Ching, Chapter 17:
"THE highest type of ruler is one of whose existence
the people are barely aware.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.
When you are lacking in faith,
Others will be unfaithful to you."
The Sage is self-effacing and scanty of words.
When his task is accomplished and things have been
All the people say, “We ourselves have achieved it!”
I don’t think the Sage in this quote is trying to manipulate with the idea that “Leadership is getting people to do things they don’t want to do.” I think instead, the Sage has learned to trust, empower, and encourage people in a way that allows them to jump in feet first, motivate themselves, and see the work as their own.
We all have people in authority around us. Some are teachers, bosses, team leaders, military officers, etc. Real leadership, however, is a rare thing. Those who have it leave a legacy of strong-hearted people. Those who don’t have it leave a wake of resentful people.
What does effective leadership qualities means to you? Do share your thoughts