Pam Lowe
Contributing columnist
The other day I read a quote that made me stop and take pause. It read, “Don’t ever work for someone you don’t want to become.” Now at first glance, it makes perfect sense. Some might read that and say to themselves, “Well, of course. That’s a no-brainer. I would never do that.” At closer inspection though, how many people do we all know who work for bosses or companies who exhibit qualities that are unbecoming or downright negative?
I’ve had leadership on my mind lately. I’ve written before about its importance and how to recognize good leadership. One of the biggest complaints from employees about their employer is lack of leadership. The worst type of authority figure is the one who makes the lives and jobs of those around them in the workplace more difficult. It could be that requests for assistance and support may fall on deaf ears or perhaps they are the type who enters a room or situation like a cyclone wreaking havoc on the work climate and dropping the barometric pressure, leaving in their wake nothing but stress, additional work and angst.
We need leadership in just about all aspects of daily life from family, organizations, and church. It’s a given that our state and federal governments could benefit from legislators with strong governance skills. Yet, the how-to-dos of being a leader aren’t really acknowledged unless you’re in a program to become an executive in a company or authority figure. It is a trait or ability that is easily dismissed but when it’s missing, boy, everyone is affected by its absence.
Yet, leadership is one of those things that people often think they know how to exhibit. Honestly, not everyone has a flair for it. It’s not as simple as making someone a boss or authority figure. Leadership is something that is best modeled. One of the key components of being a leader is having the respect of others. Many people think of leaders as being of a certain hierarchy rank in a chain of command, particularly in the workplace. Natural leaders demonstrate those skills whether they are serving on a jury or in a group volunteering to pick up trash alongside the road. Leadership is not a rank as some mistakenly believe. It’s more finely complex, yet beautifully uncomplicated. It’s self-assured confidence mixed with emotional intelligence, integrity and a good work ethic. Show me a so-called leader without emotional intelligence and I’ll show you an authority figure who couldn’t lead a group of people through a fire exit during a four-alarm fire. It takes skill and finesse, not every Tom, Dick and Harriet possesses those gifts.
I’ve always thought that an excellent leader is someone so effective that their skills are invisible. They are trailblazers and visionaries. At the root of their qualities is character. A true leader isn’t concerned with credit and who receives it, they see the big picture. Anyone involved in leadership who is concerned with credit has an agenda and it’s not positive for the group or organization.
Leaders take responsibility. They inspire others to be and do better. They don’t feel the need to be heavy-handed with demands. They lift people up and allow them to use their abilities and stretch their thinking. They step back and provide opportunities for people to shine and showcase their abilities and skill. Exemplary leaders know their key role is to mentor others. They aren’t insecure or afraid to provide opportunities for others to lead and learn.
Strong leadership requires empowering others to be willing to risk, and to try new things; all the while, realizing that failure is growth and a learning experience. Leadership is a mindset and true leaders implement passion and ideas that naturally lead people.
The presence of someone with character and integrity can wield enough influence to make everyone else in their orbit strive to be better. The bottom line is great leaders are always role models, the trouble is, so are the poor ones.
Pam Lowe is the editor for the Clay County Courier. Readers may reach her at [email protected] .