“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
Being regarded as a leader is not about title, charm, power, or charisma. True leaders demonstrate ability, effectiveness, responsibility, engagement, and goal achievement, while communicating effectively and acting with integrity.
“Effective leadership requires a commitment to key values demonstrated through behaviors. The key values of leadership are accountability, character, effective communication, understanding of self, understanding of others, understanding of the objective(s), practice, and patience.”i
If more leaders adopted these values, there would be less conflict based on perceived differences, and more recognition, appreciation, and celebration of our common values. Leaders would look for the potential in all members of their community and support human dignity above personal gain.
“It is not blindly pushing your own agenda that will really create rich opportunities in your life, career, business – and in the world. It’s your ability to understand, appreciate, anticipate, address, add value to that of others that will.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru
I share my thoughts on these and other values of leadership in a new book called, The Leadership Papers: Tools For Effective Leadership. The Leadership Papers creates a framework for understanding the roles, responsibilities, expectations, and challenges of leadership, and provides practical information on how to develop or enhance one’s leadership skills.
“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.” – Warren Bennis
The book includes conversations with leaders, articles, book reviews, definitions, quotes, tools for engagement, and information I have found helpful in my leadership development.
“Some believe that leadership is an exclusive characteristic reserved for the privileged or elite, connected to one’s station in life, family name, education, or other measures of status. I believe that leadership is inherent in everyone, but only those who practice and hone their skills become the best leaders.”ii
Webster’s Dictionary defines leadership as, “The power or ability to lead other people.”iii I believe this traditional definition is connected to an outdated understanding of what it means to lead, because it is focused solely on power and ability, and not on how leaders engage with others on the journey. A despot, a boss, an owner, a ruler, and those born into positions of power may have the title of leader and the responsibility of leadership but may not have the skills to lead.
True qualities of leadership are not predicated on wealth, class, race, gender, or position. They consist of intrinsic qualities connected to principled behaviors, personal responsibility, positive engagement, caring, and character. iv
I define leadership as, “The ability to effectively and responsibly engage with people, processes, and programs, to achieve organizational, team, or individual goals.” Developing or enhancing the skills of effective leadership is a life-long journey.
The Leadership Papers was written to:
- Demonstrate the importance of effective leadership in all aspects of life.
- Help those in positions of power recognize that power and personal accountability go hand in hand.
- Provide tools to enhance leadership skills, communication effectiveness, and understanding.
- Inspire a new group of leaders to find the courage to lead.
Whether you are just starting on your leadership journey or are a seasoned veteran, The Leadership Papers is designed to provide context for your continued growth and development.
“In real life, the most practical advice for leaders is not to treat pawns like pawns, nor princes like princes, but all persons like persons.” – James MacGregor Burns
i Russell L. Davis, The Leadership Papers: Tools for Effective Leadership (Paperback), CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 3, 2018), p. 19
ii Ibid., p7
iv Russell L. Davis, The Leadership Papers: Tools for Effective Leadership (Paperback), CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 3, 2018), p. 7