The truth is, not everyone can be a leader. Either by temperament, talent, or skill set, there are people who simply cannot fill the leadership role, whether they seek it or it is thrust upon them by circumstance. And, while some seem “born to” the role of command, others must learn the skills required to lead. With that in mind, I offer some slightly random thoughts on leadership…

“It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” – Adlai E. Stevenson II

What does this have to do with leadership? Well, for me, it helps to illustrate the fallacy of “Style over substance” as a value. If you think you “look funny” in the role of a leader, if the title doesn’t seem to fit, you’re probably right. In other words, merely playing the leadership role is not enough.

To be a successful and effective leader, you must realize that heart, soul, and substance are far more important than mere labels, and that values matter to those who seek, and need, your leadership.

If you feel uncomfortable in a leadership role, it may be time to take a look within, examining your belief systems and how they’re affecting your performance. This post, Your Beliefs May Be Killing Your Success – And You! will help you do just that.

“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell

Can you imagine the effect you’re having on the lives of those you lead? Can you, truly?

The role of a leader is a powerful one, with both short- and long-term ramifications for those on your team. The authority and control you possess over the success of others is weighty indeed, as is the responsibility to exercise that power to the benefit of all. Ego has no place in the mix when you are the “one life influencing another”.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan

Whatever you may think about his policies and politics, the one thing that can be said about Ronald Reagan as president is that he inspired people, and stimulated their belief of what was possible for America following decades of political unrest and economic turmoil. While he may not have “done much” himself, he certainly inspired others to excel, and many more to exceed their own expectations.

The same might be said of Peyton Manning, for example. As a leader, he is often described as, “Making those around him better”. What more could be asked of a leader than that, beyond his own excellent performance, he is also able to somehow animate others to reach a pinnacle of performance even they may not have thought possible.

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker

If you are reading this, you are drawn to leadership, and it’s no wonder. Being a leader is awesome – literally; with breathtaking potential for fulfillment and success, as well as a formidable responsibility to those you lead. So keep going; keep striving to access this ability in you. Keep striving to be the leader you want to be. Be humbled by the role and what it takes to be really good at it. Stop emphasizing just getting stuff done and being successful, rich, and famous. Take the risk of being selfless and conscious. The world needs your contribution, your unique leadership.