Leaders, Where Are They When You Need One?


What makes a person a leader?  I know what I consider makes a person a leader.  A lot of it is based on my own personal experiences as a leader and how the Air Force taught me how to be a leader.  With that said there are many definitions of leadership and what makes a leader.  According to websters dictionary leadership is the office or position of a leader, the capacity to lead, or the act or an instance of leading.  Personally I don’t agree with this.  Any one can be in the office or position of a leader, have the capacity to lead, or commit the act or an instance of leading but that does not make them a leader.  A leader is someone that people willing follow.  People can be in these positions, commit these acts but if no one follows them they are leading no one.

Harry S. Truman said “My definition of a leader . . . is a man who can persuade people to do what
they don’t want to do, or do what they’re too lazy to do, and like it.”  Again, another definition I don’t agree with.  People can be skilled talkers but that does not make them a good leader.  Just because you can persuade someone to do something doesn’t mean what they are doing is the right thing to do not to mention a good leader should be willing to do what they are asking their subordanates to do not ask them to do something they won’t do themselves.

The U.S. Air Force definition is as follows, “Leadership is the art to of influencing and directing people in such a way that will win their obedience, confidence, respect and loyal cooperation in achieving common objectives.”  This I can agree with.  Leadership is an art.  Not everyone can do it, even if put in a “leadership position” it does not mean they have the ability to lead, the ability to direct people to win abedience, confidence, respect, and loyal cooperation.  Base on my own experience, being a great leader means you as the leader have the ability to do just as the Air Force definition states but at the same time willing to not just say but SHOW that you are willing to do what you are asking right beside them if it is necessary.  Show that you can admit to your mistakes, take ownership of them, but at the same time minimize the mistakes you make because to be in that position, you should be skilled enough to know the right choices to makes.

I have worked for some outstanding leaders, some good leaders, and some individuals in leadership positions that never should have been in that position in the first place.  A leader has the respect of those who work under them but they also have their trust as well.  So do you work for a great leader or someone in leadership position who should never have been put in charge of people in the first place?


8 thoughts on “Leaders, Where Are They When You Need One?

  1. Jean

    Very interesting post! I do think that someone can be great at leading an lead people to do wrong things. Some very sick people have been great at leading. I shy away from calling them great leaders, but really that’s what they are. I think a lot of leading people is to find out what motivates them. Getting people to follow your lead is all about finding out what is in it for them. I don’t think I could ever ask people to do anything that I wouldn’t be willing to do. However, I am smart enough to know when someone who is following me is better at doing something than I am. Just because I lead doesn’t mean I am the right person for every job. A great leader doesn’t do it all herself. She knows where her team members play best.

    It sounds like I disagree with you. I really like what you said, and really appreciate your thoughts!

    I have been supervised by people who should not have been there. Basically, they didn’t give a crap about who we were. They only cared about the numbers. Subsequently, we didn’t care about them or their numbers. Let’s just say they have a fast turnover in employees…

  2. ramblingsfromamum

    I have worked under ‘leaders’ I also have been ‘a leader’ …what do they say no ‘I’ in team? I put my hand up when I error, when I led I would involve my team completely. If I asked ‘my team’ to do something, I would also do..one in one all, no matter what the ranking.

  3. jokelly65

    Amen, I ran into a former commanding officer three years after PCS’ing to another post. He not only remembered my name, but that of my wife and kids. being a lowly NCO there was no reason at all for him to remember me or my family. He was a great Commander, and that meeting made me wish I could be reassigned to his unit. He was a good man, and a great leader.

  4. The Siren's Tale

    Leadership is tricky… I’m apt to believe it’s more natural. While I understand and believe some people can be “taught” leadership, I also feel like truly powerful leaders (not monetary power) are often natural and have been helping change occur from early on in their lives. But our beliefs of leadership also tie into our own feelings about the characteristics we need to be led. Great post… really got me thinking!


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