As someone who has served in a variety of leadership roles, both professionally and volunteer, I have always had a keen interest in successful and unsuccessful leaders in all environments and positions. Leaders as a whole make us who we are. I have learned valuable lessons from both types.
Who are our leaders? What are we looking for and expecting from our leaders? Are our leaders qualified to lead or are they not? When I evaluate a leader, whether it be the President of the United States, elected officials, police chiefs, pastors, or anyone responsible for the outcome of a product or any definition of on-site, I evaluate them and I wonder if they are qualified. Do they meet the expectations of their position?
There are many people in leadership positions who are not qualified for what the position expects. There are many reasons for how this is happening in America today. Not everyone is fit for leadership. There are different types of influential leadership positions, but the qualities are the same. Some types of professional leaders do not necessarily succeed in other environments.
Military leaders, for example, are generally autocratic because of their position as combat leaders. This style must be their mode of management in this environment. Civilian leaders would not be successful in a military context. Former military leaders often do not succeed in the civilian environment.
We need to focus on those in leadership positions and assess who they are and their success as leaders. Are they real leaders or do they just take a job and make them fail their subordinates? Do they have some knowledge of the environment they run?
Whether governmental, commercial, fraternal, or even church, the effectiveness of any organization depends on the qualities and strengths of its leaders. Abraham Lincoln said, “I can promote a colonel to general, but that won’t make him a leader. Leaders create themselves. “
Why do some governments fail and others succeed? Their leadership. Where does juvenile delinquency begin? They are families without a head. Where are the slums festered? Cities without a leader. Which armies falter, which political parties fail? Those who are misguided.
What are some of the typical traits of effective leaders? They are as follows:
They must be effective communicators. Good leaders are excellent communicators who explain problems and solutions in a clear and concise manner. They know when to speak and when to listen. Leaders can communicate at different levels: face to face, phone, email, etc. They must be able to reason logically, make decisions and convey their thoughts.
A leader must be responsible and responsible. They hold themselves accountable and take responsibility for their mistakes. They support and encourage individuality while respecting the organizational structure, rules and policies to be followed.
They must be long term thinkers. Great leaders are visionaries. The leadership trait bears witness to this by planning for the future through concrete and quantifiable objectives. These leaders understand the need for continuous change and are willing to try new approaches to solve problems or improve processes.
Leaders need to be motivated. They are motivated and can keep going and achieve goals despite setbacks. Good leaders do their best to exceed expectations, not just to meet them. A leader must be prepared to do whatever is asked of others and more. Timing is important. It is a combination of vigilance, imagination and foresight. They must have the ability to hang on for five more minutes and inspire others. A leader must be willing to take risks and ready to experiment.
They must be confident. Virtually all good leaders share the leadership trait of trust. They can make tough decisions and lead with authority. By being confident, leaders can reassure and inspire others, establish open communications, and encourage teamwork. If a leader doesn’t believe in him / herself, no one else will.
Good leaders are people-oriented. Leaders are generally people-oriented and team players. They foster a team culture, involve others in decision making and care about each member of the team. By being people-oriented, leaders can energize and motivate others. By making each individual feel important and vital to the success of the team, they ensure the best efforts of each team member.
They are emotionally stable. Leaders exercise reasonable control and regulation over their behavior, tolerate frustration and stress, and cope with changes in an environment without intense emotional response. A good leader must have a strong code of ethics, a strong sense of integrity and a moral character. Leaders need to believe in their supporters and the goal they are pursuing.
On the other hand, some of the traits of bad leaders are as follows:
Bad leaders are too bossy. They are usually autocrats pushing their way or the highway. They often obstruct meetings, not allowing participants to have comments. They are afraid of change. Bad leaders don’t communicate effectively. They may be unwilling or unable to speak effectively.
They reject ideas other than their own. Bad leaders generally do not respect the contribution of others. They don’t like to disagree with, resulting in false accusations to discredit their supporters, with the intention of shutting them down. They are looking for “yes” people who will support them when there is no support from anyone. It may even include bypassing established procedures to get people “yes”.
Bad leaders lack empathy for others. They are inconsistent; inclined to blame others rather than accept responsibility for their actions. They are undecided. Unfortunately, too often, “yes” people are dubbed with undeserved recognition as leaders. He discredits and disrespects legitimate leaders. Bad leaders who are in the positions they are, lack integrity and live “the ends justify the means”, even if they are illegal. Truthfulness and honesty seem to be lacking in a corrupt ruler.
Leaders must earn the respect of their subordinates. I’ve always believed that employees can make or break their boss at some point. Consider who your leaders are and the other leaders who influence your life. Hold them accountable. Truthfulness and integrity are essential in leadership,
In America today, it is essential to identify the true leaders, from the President of the United States to the lowest frontline supervisor. A simple handshake, at the same time, was sacred and a bond of honesty with another person. An oath of office was a commitment to God to keep the terms of the promise. These were the hallmarks of the leaders to be respected. Truthfulness today is increasingly compromised with lies moving forward.
Take a look at the local leaders in our county of Perquimans. What if attempts to circumvent the law regarding the current location of the “Civil War Monument” are in full swing. The law clearly states that the memorial cannot be legally moved except in extenuating circumstances, which are not present in this case. Yet the county commissioners appointed a committee and hired (with our taxes) a facilitator to study the future of this monument. This is just one example of bad leadership, in which those in control bow down to special interest groups.
The third president and founding father, Thomas Jefferson, wrote: “He who allows himself to lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, until finally it becomes habitual; he tells lies without paying attention and truths without the world believing him. This falsity of the tongue leads to that of the heart and, over time, depresses all its good dispositions.
Today there is one example of deception that stands out. Leaders and others take an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of the land. There is a current tendency to disregard these oaths, to circumvent and ignore the laws that oaths have been taken to enforce and deceive their constituents.
It is your civic duty to identify and appoint / elect the right rulers and purge the bad rulers.
Keith Throckmorton, Fairfax County Police (retired)