From: Scott Wilson
To the editor:
Effective leadership: These two words probably cause a variety of reactions for many people who read them. Some of you realize the potential of any organization when there is effective leadership and are excited to even see the words together. Others of you have found it difficult to find that the concept even exists, seeing over and over again a failure to lead effectively. There are many books written on this topic, and what I have to offer in this letter are thoughts that I have learned through research and through my failures and successes.
Whether or not you are thinking of a specific organization or person while you read this does not affect the message. The fact that I am writing this with one particular person in mind also does not change the core message.
Effective leadership is about empowering others: empowering the individual to work toward a common goal just as if it were each person’s goal that he dreamed. Some leaders struggle empowering others because they are concerned about other people receiving the credit which they feel they deserve.
Clear communication is also essential to effective leadership. The best leader is not necessarily the smartest, or the most entertaining presenter, or the hardest worker. The best leaders surround themselves with the smartest, most effective and hardest workers and empower them to do great things. They lead their team and make sure they are feeding the momentum of that team, while at the same time releasing control where needed to give ownership to members of that team.
Ronald Reagan said, “Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way.”
You may or may not have agreed with Reagan’s agenda or political platform, but I think it would be hard for anybody to say that he was not an effective leader.
To be placed in a position of leadership is an honor. Those who have been given that honor should fully understand the seriousness of the effect they may have on other people. A leader’s perspective and sense of purpose should be based not on his own gain, but on how he may positively benefit those whom he leads.
To those of you who are leaders, who have been leaders and who aspire to be future leaders, I say thank you. Take the responsibility seriously and study effective leaders as models of leadership and surround yourself with people who can make you better. All of my personal successes in leadership have been directly related to the people with whom I have surrounded myself, and all of my personal failures in leadership have been directly related to self-reliance only.
Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” best said about leaders, “It is not the genius at the top giving directions that makes people great. It is great people that make the guy at the top look like a genius.”
After all, who doesn’t want to look like a genius?