Leadership by Any Other Name
There are probably as many definitions of leadership as there are leaders. Harry Truman, in his typical, straightforward style, once said,
"A leader is a person who has the ability to get others to do what they don't want to do, and like it."
A contemporary of Truman but a very different soul, Mahatma Gandhi, ironically used military imagery to identify tenacity as the key element:
"To put up with these misrepresentations [of how others mistakenly characterize you] and to stick to one's guns come what might--this is the essence of leadership."
Hannibal, as he contemplated crossing the Alps to attack Rome, would probably like Gandhi's attitude. He said,
"I will find a way or make one."
Also ironically, a statement from the mouth of one of the greatest military leaders in history, Napoleon, sounds more like something Gandhi would say. He identified a core emotional/spiritual dimension as central. He believed:
"A leader is a dealer in hope."
The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-tse said something that sounds right for an aphorism coming out of the East:
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists."
The Bible has much to say about leadership too. Paul affirmed its value when he told Timothy,
"To aspire to leadership is an honourable ambition" (1 Tim 3:1 NEB).
In fact, he gave Timothy and Titus the very job of appointing church leaders.
What's one of your favorite quotes on leadership and why?
Posted by Andy Le Peau
at April 15, 2014 11:45 AM
I would like to offer to this conversation three quotations about leadership. The first is tragic—reflecting the confusion of the post-modern age in which we live. The second is insightful—revealing why charisma trumps essence in contemporary civics. The last is pragmatic—something to which everyone who has ever been a “follower” will shout an enthusiastic “amen!”
“We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.”
― Whoopi Goldberg
The unanswered question is: “To where?”
I am guilty of a slight archaism in calling them ‘rulers.’ ‘Leaders’ is the modern word. I have suggested elsewhere that this is a deeply significant change of vocabulary. Our demand upon them has changed no less than theirs on us. For of a ruler one asks justice, incorruption, diligence, perhaps clemency; of a leader, dash, initiative, and (I suppose) what people call ‘magnetism’ or ‘personality.’
― C.S. Lewis
God help those who live in an age that values appearance over substance.
“People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.”
― Thomas Sowell