Does Leadership Really Matter?

I wish I’d paid more attention in psychology classes in college. It seems like every day is an opportunity to use the principles and practices my professors were trying to teach me. One of the lessons that seemed to stick was the idea that our beliefs really do affect our behavior.

What I believe about people affects the way I treat them. What I believe about stewardship impacts how I use my time and money. My beliefs about parenting largely determine how I parent my children. The list goes on and on.
So, since you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you are a leader, an emerging leader, or my mom. Let’s focus on the first two groups today.
What do you believe about leadership? One of my beliefs is that...

Everything rises and falls on leadership.

I think about this idea every time I see an abandoned building or a business that has failed. I wonder where they got off course - where did they fail? My guess, most often is that it was a failure of leadership.
Countries, churches, businesses, schools, armies, non-profit organizations, hospitals, and even families, depend on leadership. Good leadership tends to create good results, and bad leadership tends to garner bad results. Notice I chose the word “tends.” That was intentional. I understand even the best leaders do, from time to time, face circumstances out of their control. However, if I could make only one decision to increase the odds of success for ANY organization, I would focus on leadership.
Pretend for a moment you believe this idea – everything rises and falls on leadership. What are the potential implications for you and me? I’ll share just three of many.
We must continue to grow our own leadership. If my premise is true, it starts with us! John Maxwell talks often about leaders who are unable to take their organizations to the next level – because they are the lid. The way to remove the lid is to keep growing! Become a better leader - get better results.
We should recruit and select leaders and future leaders. If you believe leadership is the most critical factor in the success of any enterprise, you need a healthy and vibrant talent pipeline full of leaders and emerging leaders. Look at the last 10 people you selected. How many of them are future leaders in your organization?
We should build a leadership culture in our organizations. I define a leadership culture as a place where leaders are routinely and systematically developed – and you have a surplus of leaders. The first half of the statement is about the process and discipline we need in our organizations. The second half is about how we know when we’ve actually created a leadership culture. How many leaders in your organization are “ready now” when the next leadership position becomes available?
What we believe really does matter. Our beliefs drive our behaviors.[GLS_Shield]
What do you believe about leadership?

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Joseph Iliff (@SeekOutWisdom)

10 years ago

I believe that too many people fail to accept the role of leader. Leadership is using one's influence to help others be more and do more. Anyone from anywhere within and organization can be a leader if they use their abilities, their experiences, and their judgment to serve others. Being a leader isn't about having an important sounding title. It is about serving and teaching, and everyone can do that. We need more people to take advantage of that opportunity.

Daniel Buhr

10 years ago

An empty building isn't necessarily a sign of failed leadership. If the leader learned from whatever went wrong, is it really a failure? The true sign of failed leadership is an empty heart. You're absolutely right, leadership matters. It's a matter of the heart.


10 years ago

Thanks, Daniel! I just sent the manuscript for my next book to the publisher - it is entitled, The Heart of Leadership. Regarding the empty building - I agree we should always learn from our mistakes. As John Maxwell advocates, we should fail forward! Thanks again for taking time to comment. Mark

Doug Smith

10 years ago

As a young leader who has a passion for developing other young leaders, I would love to hear more about how you develop a leadership culture for young leaders to grow and develop in your organization. Thanks!

Todd Warnock

10 years ago

Leadership begins by surrounding oneself along those who are the best of the best in their industry. A good leader is passionate in what they do! A good leader leads by example. Good Leadership provides all required tools for an individual to be successful. among all a good leader cares about their people and yearns for their people's success. successful leaders should hire individuals that are better than Themselves in areas of personal weaknesses. Quite often the last two statements I made most leaders fear And do not do it only to their own Insecurity which can lead to There own demise because they see those Individuals as a threat and are afraid This is not so! A good leader additionally gives Subordinates ownership to those who they nurture. Good leadership sets goals, meets regularly to follow up and is supportive NOT Threatening or degrading. Nothing should ever be a negative surprise to a subordinate. A good leader knows the role of leader and subordinate yet should take that line and treat their subordinate as an equal and let that line simply be not spoken but understood. Good leadership is open to all possibilities and does not resist change & Must listen As well as here. Good leadership is teaching, promote additional learning & Constantly Evolving With in a new Paradigm.
Good leadership always contains the basic underlying qualities & that shall always be the foundation: example, walk the talk, common Enthusiastic and inspiring goals, providing all the supportive tools to obtain the outcome, promote ownership and providing the support with follow-up ( NOT MICRO MANAGE) reward, & reward more when success is reached. Rase the bar together. Eventually that good leader will generate good leaders. And the best of the best will not just Incorporate everything I mentioned yet will become that special visionary which can take Leadership to the next level.


9 years ago

Todd, thanks for your thoughtful reply! As you articulated the multi-faceted role of a leader, I'm reminded again why leadership is such hard work! Keep it up and please let me know if I can serve you in the future. Mark


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