Sunday, October 28, 2007

Curious about Leadership: What Constitutes an Excellent Leader? Where Can I Get the Best Leadership Information?

True leadership lies in guiding others to success. In ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well.” - Bill Owens, American politician

One secret of leadership is that the mind of a leader never turns off. Leaders even when they are sightseers or spectators, are active; not passive observers.” - James Humes, American lawyer

The business group that I have joined is focused on leadership. I just returned from a three day conference hosted by this group and attended by 30,000 positive and excited team members. Coinciding with the event was the presentation of the top selling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution, written by the founders of group, Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward.

Another book on Leadership that just hit the stands and that I also highly recommend is The Secret Language of Leadership by Stephen Denning. Denning is a well known business storyteller who shows us "How Leaders Inspire Action Through Narrative."

What does it take to become an effective leader? We were asked at the Conference to name the top leaders of today. How about CEOs with integrity and leadership skills? Who are the leaders in the sports arena? In politics? In our lives? How many leaders can you name? It is scary when we realize what a challenge this can be.

So, I decided to share the great quotations I found that refer to leadership. In the general category we have:

  • I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” - Mohandas Gandhi, Indian leader
  • Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” - Harry S. Truman, American President
  • Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” - Harold S. Geneen, British businessman
  • Leadership consists not in degrees of technique but in traits of character; it requires moral rather than athletic or intellectual effort, and it imposes on both leader and follower alike the burdens of self-restraint.” - Lewis H. Lapham, American editor
  • The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower, American President

And a few more:

  • Honor bespeaks worth. Confidence begets trust. Service brings satisfaction. Cooperation proves the quality of leadership.” - James Cash Penney, American businessman
  • Leadership comes in small acts as well as bold strokes.” - Carly Fiorina, American businesswoman
  • The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” - Ralph Nader, American lawyer
  • Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.” - Jesse Jackson, American activist
  • Leadership appears to be the art of getting others to want to do something you are convinced should be done.” - Vance Packard, American writer
  • I don't know what leadership is. You can't touch it. You can't feel it. It's not tangible. But I do know this: you recognize it when you see it.” - Bob Ehrlich, American politician

And, a couple to chew upon and think about:

This is a time for leadership and judgment that is not compromised in any fashion. This is a time for transparency and a thorough investigation.” - Cynthia McKinney, American politician

Leadership requires the courage to make decisions that will benefit the next generation.” - Alan Autry, American actor

So, I ask you, are you a leader? If so, what will it take to become a better leader? If not, the good news is that leadership is a skill. By working on it daily, you will achieve it.