One of the principle differences between a true leader, and an individual merely holding a leadership position, is that true leaders always stand for something. A true leader understands that the burdens and responsibilities of leadership include putting the best interests of their organization first. They also realize that it is more important to do the right thing, than to try to do the popular thing!
Many individuals in leadership positions seem to try to substitute rhetoric and oration, for action and planning. While being a decent orator is certainly an advantage to a leader, being an excellent planner is far more essential. I have witnessed some great speakers that were horrible and ineffective “leaders,” while also witnessing true leaders who were only average speakers, but were great planners.
Effective leadership means having a vision when one assumes a leadership position, and converting that vision to a plan. Before it can become a plan, anything important requires study and understanding, as well as considerable research, before making a well-considered, well thought-out decision as to a course of action. A true leader has a reason that he wants to lead, not just that he was asked to, or that “the organization needed me.” It is abundantly clear that organizations never need anyone in a leadership position that cannot clearly state his reason for wanting to lead. True leaders always stand for something!
Effective leadership requires thought and a purpose. Once this purpose is examined, and is deemed worthwhile to pursue, an action plan must be created. However, merely creating a plan of action without implementing it, is a meaningless exercise.
Leaders have a clear-cut sense of direction, which guides them in their deliberations, considerations, actions taken, and judgments. This is the only way that effective and well-considered decision making can be arrived at. Without a method to make a judgment, it is nearly impossible to truly lead!
Most importantly, true leaders motivate others, not by words and empty rhetoric and platitudes, nor by repeating cliches and popular slogans, nor by simply complaining about what is wrong. A true leader may object to a current course of action, but not until he considers alternatives, and comes up with a better plan. Effective leaders will motivate other people by what they do, and their actions, rather than their words.
I remember marveling at why the employees of one restaurant seemed to have such a far better attitude than the competition, and were willing to work harder and do more, without complaining. I observed, however, that the first restaurant’s owners were hands-on workers, working hard and long hours, and never asking anything of an employee that they would not do themselves. The owners of the first restaurant would bring over water to tables, if necessary, and clear tables, when the restaurant was busy. The competition, on the other hand, sat behind the cash register and “ordered” employees around. The first owner kept smiling and being friendly, regardless of the difficulties, while the other owner was rarely warm. Is it any wonder that these employees reacted differently? It is the same thing
Organizational leadership is the same way. Members and donors can generally eventually read through the empty rhetoric, while appreciating true dedication. If a leader wants to motivate, and to truly lead, he must lead by example.
Richard Brody has over 30 years consultative sales, marketing, training, managerial, and operations experience. He has trained sales and marketing people in numerous industries, given hundreds of seminars, appeared as a company spokesperson on over 200 radio and television programs, and regularly blogs on real estate, politics, economics, management, leadership, negotiations, conferences and conventions, etc. Richard has negotiated, arranged and/ or organized hundreds of conferences and conventions. Richard is a Senior Consultant with RGB Consultation Services, an Ecobroker, a Licensed Buyers Agent (LBA) and Licensed Salesperson in NYS, in real estate.