Wednesday, July 06, 2011


I'm thinking about leadership. It's both style and substance. My first study of leadership many years ago at a Hennepin County (MN) training seminar told me that a good leader gets the agreed upon job done well but doesn't disempower people in the process. Not a bad definition of a manager but it only hints at what a good leader does and is I'm afraid.

Leadership is more than enough form and function to get 'er done. Although good leaders accomplish plenty there's something about a good leader that speaks to a certain realness that is rooted deep in something substantial. I guess we'd call that a nourished authenticity. Something good seems to always flow into leadership quality people. You can almost feel it and sense it. And out of that flow of goodness comes a fountain of honesty, caring, focused edginess, peaceful power and clear resolve. But that fountain stops once the flow of goodness is blocked.

Many people liken leadership essentials to what's below the waterline in a well built sailing vessel. Many a ship has sunk because too much attention has been paid to how the vessel would look and not enough attention to what would keep it afloat.

So here's my question? OK. First, let me make a comment. I think too many don't really give a rip about below the waterline kind of issues. Now, here's the question. What's below your waterline? Do you even care?

I think that too many just go with the flow of life. Not much intentionality. Reaction instead of proactivity. Passive existence instead of thoughtful engagement. Dull life. Personal leadership is missing. And it's all considered normal. Whew.

Where are the difference makers? Am I one? Are you? Do we even care?

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