March 23

Today's quotation:

Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue.  It is not "making friends and influencing people", that is flattery.  Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.

Peter F. Drucker

Today's Meditation:

We seem to be getting very warped ideas about leadership these days, especially in the political arena.  People in leadership positions seem to be more and more often motivated by personal gain and power than they are in actual leadership; we see so-called "leaders" who make decisions based on who will profit from them rather than on whether or not they're good for the people they're "leading."

If I'm a leader (and I am, in several different contexts), my responsibility is not to tell people what to do in order to have control over them, but to help them to find the right directions in their own decisions.  And in doing that, it's important that I help them to become better at what they do.  My expectations need to be high but realistic; demanding but achievable.  I don't want students who take my classes to plan on an easy semester, and if I set my standards high, I know that they'll know the topic much better at the end of the semester than they did at the beginning.

Certain people want leaders to be easy, because then nothing difficult is asked of them.  There are students who make sure to sign up for another teacher's class because they know they won't have to work as hard during the semester; but I know that they also won't know nearly as much when the semester is over.  I tell my students constantly that it doesn't matter to me if they're my friends or not--what matters is whether they learn.

As leaders, our decisions always should be made based on what's best for the people we're leading, not on what's best for us.  Sometimes that makes things difficult for us, but that's part of being a leader--there will always be difficulties, and I'd much rather take on a difficulty that will be beneficial for others than choose a path of ease that's not going to benefit anyone other than myself.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people see positions of leadership as opportunities for personal gain?

How might you help others as a leader to reach their own potential?

What are some of the difficulties that you see in being a leader?  How about benefits?

For further thought:

Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart.  Leadership is about inspiration—of oneself and of others.  Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes.  Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others.  It is an attitude, not a routine.

Lance Secretan

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