As I enjoyed the excitement of a local firework show this week, my mind started to think about the “fireworks” of leadership. What are the key sparks that are needed for an individual to possess the magic, the ability to lead a colorful explosion of collective progress, the power to motivate the masses? While I’m no expert, I have learned some amazing lessons from outstanding leaders throughout my life’s experiences! Many of the greats have a few things in common!
1. PEOPLE MATTER
Great leaders readily acknowledge the fact people matter! This concept transcends fields, cultures, and socioeconomics. These leaders serve their folks and always seek means to support others. Policies, programs, and processes can be the best that exist, but without people these things are useless. Great leadership can get the multitude to move as one body because of their humility and commitment modeled on a daily basis. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ” Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?”
2. EXEMPLARY COMMUNICATION
Leadership’s middle name is communication! Great leaders are able to convey their thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and expectations in ways that all understand. Not only is their message clear, but it is also inclusive! Vivid language is not necessarily mandatory, but including the heart’s message is a must. It is through communication that we learn the passion and purpose of great leaders, which in turn ignites a fire within the rest of us!
3. STRATEGIC THINKING
It’s not just enough to have a vision. You must be able to think in such a strategic manner to bring the vision to life! Have you ever heard someone tell a story so well that you became a tree in the picture as they walked in the park? Yes, leaders must be able to paint a crystal clear picture, but they must also possess a level of forward thinking that will allow them to see in the future and plan backwards. How the sparks fly when leaders engage in strategic, creative, limitless thinking!
4. HERE AND PRESENT
There have been so many times in my life where I found that I was physically in one location and my mind was totally on the other side of the universe! I can’t even begin to imagine the number of missed opportunities to connect, engage, learn… Great leaders recognize the power of being in the moment! If we focus too much on the problems of the past or the feasibility of the future, we miss out on the purpose of the present!
These are just a few of the fireworks of leadership! And while there are many more, these simple concepts are sure to help anyone of their leadership journey. No two leadership journeys will ever be alike, but there are some core skills that all need to put in their backpack. Enjoy your journey and let the FIREWORKS begin!
Until next time, don’t forget to BOSS ( Build Opportunities for Students to Succeed)!