First, leadership is about “leading people, not managing things”.  If you doubt this, answer this question – “have you ever tried to manage your spouse?” Right.

Recently, I read several articles, blog posts and replies regarding leaders and leadership.  They all try to express what attributes, or set of attributes, a leader must have to be successful – what I call the “leadership how(s)”.  All in all they attempt to identify and define the ‘X’ number of most important attributes of successful leaders.  Although leadership attributes are important,  I have found that there are many leadership attributes, and sets of attributes called styles, and no single set of attributes or styles guarantees success because the situation(s) leaders or leadership teams face in their organizations, and their organization’s maturity are different from others.

However, I have found that ALL successful leaders, or leadership teams, provide the same four “leadership whats” for their organization(s).  A leader is like a motorcycle rider and provides the same four “whats”. The motorcycle rider: – (1) pilots the cycle in a specific direction(s); (2) delivers thrust/power to move the cycle in that direction; (3) manages risks of piloting the cycle; and (4) makes changes in the cycle’s direction, thrust and risk based on current and anticipated situations/changes.  Now substitute organization for motorcycle/cycle, and leader, or leadership team, for rider.  If a leader(s) fails to provide any of these four “whats”, the chances of the leader or organization being successful are slim to none.  Successful leaders provide their organization(s) with the proper direction(s), and the right amount of thrust, while allowing appropriate calculated risk taking.  And then they have the courage to make changes when an organization’s situation(s) changes.

 

Leadership

Leadership

 

Leaders need to understand and focus on the “whats” which can be broken down into finer and finer specifics which I will address in the next set of discussions.