Did you know that leadership is the number one skill that people say will increase their effectiveness in the workplace? Leadership matters.
We can all look back over our lives and recall the many encounters we’ve had with leadership, both great and poor, whether that be in the classroom, on the sports field, in a voluntary capacity or in the workplace. Perhaps you can recall a teacher, a professor or a sports coach that inspired in you a passion for a particular subject, field of study or sport? Or maybe you’ve had the privilege of working for someone who inspired you to do your best and excel at what you do? I will never forget my postgraduate Management Accounts lecturer at University, Professor De Wet. He would always start our Monday morning lesson with a motivational quote. The quote usually had absolutely nothing to do with Management Accounts but rather to do with fulfilling your potential, making your life count, being all you could be. There is no doubt that Professor De Wet’s leadership had an impact on the kind of leader I am today.
On the converse, I am sure you have your own examples of lousy teachers, professors or managers that have brought you no end of frustration and that may even have even caused you to lose the wind in your sails at school, university, on the sports field or the work place. I know I have certainly had my fair share.
These experiences, both positive and negative, have been instrumental in shaping our thinking and our beliefs as to what leadership should or shouldn’t look like. More than likely, they have also shaped our own leadership to some degree or another. The fact is: leadership matters.
One only needs to look at the world around us, be it in business, politics, education, healthcare, etc. to note the value and benefit that great leadership brings and conversely, the devastating effects that poor leadership can cause. It can build a team, department, an organisation or even a nation. Or, it can break a team, department, organisation or even a nation. Leadership matters.
All too often, people are promoted to positions of leadership because they are good at what they do, seldom are they promoted because they display the qualities that embody great leadership. This has sadly created a leadership vacuum in the world around us…a vacuum for great leadership. The good news is that this presents an opportunity for those of us who recognise this and are prepared to step up into the gap. This begins with an acknowledgment that leadership does indeed matter. My leadership matters. Your leadership matters. The question is, will you step up and be the kind of leader that is worthy of the people that follow you? Let me finish with this great quote by John Quincy Adams:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”