The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
A friend recommended I read a book on leadership by Ed Rendell. Although the book focused on leadership in the political arena, many of the points can be carried over to leadership in any venue.
The book is A Nation Of Wusses; How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts To Make Us Great.
Initially the title didn’t sit right with me. I looked up the definition and decided the term does indeed apply to some individuals in leadership roles. Per Encarta: Wuss – an offensive term that deliberately insults somebody regarded as weak or ineffectual.
I’m not inclined to ever deliberatively insult anyone, but have indeed crossed paths with leaders that I regarded as weak and incompetent, incapable, and ineffective. (How many leaders have you known that fall into those categories?).
Mr. Rendell simply says: You can’t be effective if you’re a wuss. He then goes on to list the top10 factors that attribute to this “condition”. I took a bit of liberty with the phrasing but believe the intention remains constant:
10. Refusal to give credit where credit is deserved
9. Refusal to admit mistakes
8. Refusal to clearly answer questions
7. Fear of saying “no”
6. Refusal to debate or discuss differing opinions
5. Refusal to “own” past decisions
4. Refusal to state opinions when opposed
3. Change opinions due to pressure
2. Change loyalties based on popularity
1. Taking credit for the work of others (especially when they disagreed with the effort)
Strong and effective leadership requires courage, and is not always popular. Think of some leaders that you thought highly of. How many of the following traits did they exhibit?
- Courageous (visit 12 Steps For Courageous Leadership)
- High Integrity
- Good Communicator (includes listening!)
As mentioned last week, leadership truly is a journey; understand and utilize your strengths and the strengths of others, and “live” your beliefs. Be bold; position yourself to achieve your goals and be a highly regarded leader!
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