Leadership has many different faces but a common business view is that it has something to do with both greatness and collective good.
History is strewn with examples of powerful figures who led millions of people in a direction we would later consider against the common good. In business, in the main, we are intolerant of autocratic, ego-driven dictators who punish dissenters and alienate talent. That is not to say they don’t exist, being deliberately positioned by those who should know better; by those who generally don’t see the rot that spreads until it is too late.
It is all too common for those in power to ignore what really counts, being blinded by what is easy to count – short term gains at the expense of long term value. Those with insight can clearly see the effects of great leadership in the energy and discretionary effort of those within its circle of influence. They are motivated by the aspiration, drive and determination to conquer every competitive challenge.
The insight-impaired who walk right past talent and capability never ponder what it takes to build an organisation that can achieve something extraordinary. Instead, they most likely blame failure on the market.
Are great leaders always popular? Not necessarily. They act on what the situation needs, not what they are pressured to say or do. Often they speak words that threaten the power of those with assigned authority. One such leader is recently-deceased civil rights activist, poet and prophet: Dr Maya Angelou.
She remains alive through her documented wisdom and insights that speak to every leader who seeks to inspire greatness.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”