by Steve DiIoia
This Fourth of July, during the celebration of our declaration of independence, I will be thinking about my abilities as a leader and those of the leaders in my life, past and present. I know it may seem strange to think about this while most people think of BBQs and fireworks. However, I start to wonder what the founding fathers would think about leadership in America if they were standing in my backyard watching the fireworks and reclining back after a few hamburgers and hot dogs. I don’t think they would be very pleased.
As a consultant, executive coach and pastor, I encounter leaders and lead people every day. I always wonder what people think of my abilities to lead, as I am tasked to evaluate leadership, directly or indirectly, in order to assist improvement in organizations. In my evaluation of leaders, it surprises me how many leaders struggle with even the basic principles of good leadership, when these principles haven’t changed since the dawn of leadership. Book after book written about leadership tends to repeat the same basic principles for being a good or great leader.
In spite of this, what I find troubling is the lack of four simple qualities that would significantly improve a leader’s ability to lead. While these are not the only qualities needed, I have seen these four qualities go a long way for a leader to maintain a group of followers who will follow not due to title but out of respect for the leader’s ability to lead. These four qualities are:
- Courage to lead with integrity and character, make the decision, take the risk and face the unknown dreaming for a better future (vision);
- Commitment to be the leader; not a boss or manager, but a leader to the people they lead and the vision for the future;
- Passion for leading people and the organization’s vision and mission;
- Servanthood by serving the organization and, most importantly, the people they lead.
These qualities are summed up at the end of the Declaration of Independence:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
This is why each year around Independence Day, I wonder how well I uphold these qualities as a leader, and make a similar pledge in support of the areas where I lead. Take some time to reflect this holiday weekend, and ask yourself: “Do I have the same courage, commitment, passion and servanthood reflected in that pledge?” and “Am I willing to make a similar pledge as a leader?”
Steve is a SixSigma Master Black Belt, having trained at Motorola where Six Sigma was invented. He has over 17 years experience leading project teams in continuous process improvement, lean manufacturing and quality management systems in manufacturing companies. Steve holds numerous certifications, including coach from the Gestalt Institute, Professional Business Advisor from MEPU, and Quality Technician from the American Society of Quality. http://www.insyte-consulting.com/meet-insyte