Leadership: What is it, anyhow?

Jan. 1, 2020
When choosing the right leader, don't base all of your decisions on personality type. There's more to it than that.
Conventional ideas of leadership, along with depictions we see in films and television, often define leadership as being charismatic. Hard charging, quick decision-making, “A”-type personalities are the stereotype.

Peter Drucker, author and world-renowned futurist, urges us to look at history. People like Harry Truman, Abe Lincoln and General Eisenhower had little charisma and did not foster outward signs that they were in charge, Drucker points out. But history holds them in high esteem for their leadership abilities and their accomplishments.

So what is leadership? According to Drucker, it is made up of four elements:

  1. Thinking through the organization’s mission.
  2. Seeing leadership as responsibility rather than as rank and privilege.
  3. To not be afraid of seeing the strength in associates and subordinates, and yet to ultimately accept responsibility for their mistakes.
  4. One must earn trust: otherwise there will be no followers.

Don’t ever think you or some shy counterperson in your store(s) do not have leadership potential. Reject the stereotypes in the popular press. They are unrealistic and misleading. Remember, too, that charisma is not always a good trait. Some charismatic leaders of the last century did unremitting harm to their own and other societies. The goal of leadership should always be the first consideration of any activity.

Though not everyone wants to be a leader, and some just aren’t cut out for it, many have hidden leadership potential. The more you tap that capacity in yourself and your employees, the more potential your business will have.

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