Leadership……………  by ric justiss

Leadership is one of those things you know
when you see it.  It's a subtle quality.  I don't
know if I can define leadership, but I know
when I've been led.

I know it is important.  Every facet of our life
is influenced by the leaders we have in our
life.  We depend on good leadership from our
country's leaders, our work-place leaders,
our family leaders and the leadership in our
past-time activities and organizations we
participate in.  Poor leadership in any one
arena of our life will cause us concern and
heartache and problems.  Good leadership
will give us confidence, high morale, courage
and hope.

I demand certain characteristics of the people I choose to follow.  If  and when I
have a choice, I will choose to follow those with Integrity and Character.  This is a
deal breaker with me if it is not there completely. I look for a strong sense of
"what is right" and a demonstration of ethical practices that sets the tone for
others.  I look for Courage, the strength to act in accordance with your own
values and the greater good despite pressures pushing you in other directions.
The ability to put the cause before the desire to be popular.  I look for Confidence,
a belief in your ability to meet most challenges that come your way.  Our best
leaders will have Vision,  a strong sense of where you are going as a person and
where you think society, your community and your organization should be going
– and how it might get there.  I like to see Enthusiasm,  a lively interest in the
people, issues and events around you, a feeling of excitement about the
possibilities, and the energy to guide them towards fruition.

The most gifted athletes rarely make good coaches. The best violinist will not
necessarily make the best conductor. Nor will the best teacher necessarily make
the best head of the department. So it's critical to distinguish between the skill of
performance and the skill of leading the performance, two entirely different skills.

You need Mental toughness. No one can lead without being criticized or without
facing discouragement. A potential leader needs a mental toughness. I don't
want a mean leader; I want a tough-minded leader who sees things as they are
and will pay the price. Leadership creates a certain separation from one's peers.
The separation comes from carrying responsibility that only you can carry. You
have heard that it is lonely at the top.  This is true.  A leader must be able to keep
his or her own counsel until the proper time.

Another very important quality to seek in those we follow is Respect. Respect
doesn't reveal ability, but it can show character and personality. I look for people
whose associates want them to succeed.  It's tough enough to succeed when
everybody wants you to succeed. But when others don't want you to succeed, it
is an uphill battle all the way.   It isn't important that people like you. It's important
that they respect you. They may like you but not follow you. If they respect you,
they'll follow you, even if perhaps they don't like you.  Leaders have a "holding
court" quality about them. When they speak, people listen. Other people may talk
a great deal, but nobody listens to them. They're making a speech; they're not
giving leadership. I take notice of people to whom others listen.

A leader is someone who helps others do and become more than they ever
thought possible. Leadership is about unlocking potential, whether individual
potential or that of a group, company, or organization. It is not about telling
people what to do, but inspiring them to see what they are capable of, then,
helping them get there.  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.  Blessed is the leader who seeks the best for those he


Oct. 25, 2006
Just My Opinion