In light of the Chamber’s upcoming Business Excellence Awards which will recognize our preeminent entrepreneurs, and also being inspired by our Provincial All Candidates Night and, more recently, attendance at a Fort Erie Council meeting, I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership.
As the Chamber’s Operations Manager I come into contact with many business, community, and civic leaders. As an eternal optimist, I believe that most people are inherently good. But there are people, and indeed leaders, who place their egos and own personal agendas ahead of common sense and decency. Yes, my knee-jerk reaction to always extend the olive branch has on occasion, both burned and embarrassed me. Call me naïve, but whenever it does happen, I am genuinely dismayed and disappointed that the good guys lost another little piece of humanity.
Yet despite being proven wrong once and while, I doubt that I’ll change my belief that most people interact with a high level of respect, compassion, and morality. In one form or another, we are all leaders in our roles as business owners, managers, educators, politicians, and parents. We should all strive to set a benchmark from which to set an example of extraordinary leadership for the betterment of our companies, families, constituency, and community.
Harry Truman once said that ―"to be able to lead others, a man must be willing to go forward alone."
Exceptional leaders display real internal character and are motivated by a purpose greater than a desire to be important, powerful, or persuasive.
Leadership is about action, not words. It is about honesty, patience, intelligence, the ability to listen communicate, and inspire others. Truly great leaders are forward thinkers with vision. They have an ability to withstand the onslaught of demands from peers, coworkers, party lines, pressure groups, and thought leaders.
They are mindful of the consequences of their actions, balanced in their thinking, and confident in their convictions.
Perhaps, during these times of economic hardships where personal greed, weakened ethics, and declining morality run rampant, we should turn inwardly to examine our own strength of character. Are we leading by example? Are our motives authentic or have we been conditioned by others’ opinions? Do we push forward for positive action or merely use our leadership for power and individual gain?
I’m sure my faith in mankind is well founded. Sometimes we just need a gentle prod to remind us that working individually together with wholesome motives can not only improve the human condition, but also accomplish great things.