The Missing Links

missing links

We admire them from afar and close-up, wondering how they have mastered this ability.  Calmly and powerfully their influence touches us and so many others. Yet this influence is not controlling, dominating or belittling.  It is refreshing, inspiring, and uplifting.  And we wonder how did they become so great?  What does it take to be a leader of that caliber?

Definitions give us a place to start.  To lead is to guide on a way especially by going in advance or to direct on a course or in a direction.  Thank you Merriam-Webster.

Would you agree that something is missing from that definition?  Think of those you consider great leaders.  It is more than that.

What is that intangible undefined thing we are searching for here?  Here are a few characteristics to consider.

  • Trust – the belief that someone is reliable, good, honest, effective, authentic
  • Compassion – having a heart or positive energy. Think about leadership without compassion.  That is dictatorship.
  • Stability – consistent in actions, the calm in the storm
  • Hope – for a better future, for a way forward in challenging times, for direction

Do you find yourself agreeing that these are those “less identifiable but definitely noticed when missing” characteristics that make a great leader?

If so you are not alone.  Rather than coming from the gurus of leadership, the characteristics given above came from the followers of great leaders.* This is how great leaders are distinguished – by meeting the needs of their followers.

Are you leading just a few or reluctant followers?  Have you considered how well you are meeting their needs?


*You can learn more about the research that revealed the full picture of great leaders in the book Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie.

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