What is Real Leadership for You?

Recently I have been involved with different people who all seemed to have their own ide as to what being a Leader was all about.

One seemed to feel it was getting everyone to follow, without question, the directions that they were giving as to how things ought to be done.

It was also interesting to observe those who were being given these directions. There we a great vacuum in the area of passion, nobody seemed to be motivated, at all, to respond to the directions, they did, however, it was with a cool detachment, even a sort of passive resistance response.

Another was extremely open with what they expected, a very vague communication of requirements. ‘Just do what you feel is best to achieve so and so’, was the directive.

Interesting to observe that in this case there was still a great deal of frustration and questionable energy. People were in a real state of loss and confusion about what was really being expected of them. Total uncertainty, total lack of productivity, what got achieved was more good luck than good management.

Are these two your model or have you another possibility in your stable as to what good leadership is all about.


I will awair comments as to your perception of good leadership and come back with other thoughts soon.


Posted on June 14, 2012, in Leadership requirements, openness. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Grant Withrington

    Hi Austin,
    There are times when a leaders needs to give clear instructions that are followed to the letter, such as when dealing with new employees who have little or no experience in the matter at hand. And there are times when a leaders must set the right expectations, giving the what and the why, but leave it to the employee to figure out the how, such as when dealing with highly experienced employees who have a high degree of engagement.

    The employee responses you described suggest that the leadership styles used in each case were not appropriate for the situation. It sounds like these two leaders needed to swap positions. Or at least read up on Situational Leadership.

    But for me real leadership is more than just the style you use in any given situation. It’s about having an honest desire to unlock the potential in others and aligning that with the goals to be achieved. No leader can achieve anything on their own. It takes a dedicated, motivated, engaged and experienced team, well lead, to achieve the right goals. Unleashing the potential in others seems to me to be a far more creative and effective way of leading for success.

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