“Leaders must be willing to go places where they are not certain they will succeed.”

Ask anyone and they’ll each give you their opinion of what constitutes a great leader: the will to lead, courage, emotional maturity, and a hundred more attributes, even including ruthlessness and arrogance.  It’s all very subjective.

Yet, a leader is expected to provide a steadying hand and guide the organizations through its struggles and good times. Leaders provide support and serve as an example and rallying point to their organizations.  They articulate vision and direction, and help motivate people who might not be fully invested or understanding of the goals and values at play.  They are the self-starters who provide guidance and inspire.

They are used to being the objective hand, the achiever and source of dynamism and resilience within a group. So what does a leader do when his/her own path becomes shadowy and uncertain and is in danger of losing his/her way?


New Perspective:

Self-awareness is at the top of the emotional intelligence pyramid and the trait most often checked-off when describing a great leader.  One cannot manage relationships successfully without first knowing his/her own biases and personal filters.  It’s much easier to be negative  – there’s the reward of being right and making the other person wrong but that leads to no other gain but an overweight ego.  Start the new year “clean” with your dealings.  Tell the truth to yourself, if not to others.  Give yourself the opportunity to begin with integrity.  Ask yourself, do the ends justify the means?  Experience might give you an answer but the actions you take will determine quality of character.  A great leader acknowledges his/her own truth without lament or justifications.

How might you be contributing to a climate of mistrust?  Most of use don’t believe we do – but try to imagine how even your thoughts can play a role in creating an atmosphere of wariness and doubt.  Relationships grow in trust when the interaction is transparent and boundaries are clear.  Relationships also grow in doubt and distance when truth is omitted, distorted, or misrepresented for one’s own purpose and sometimes there is little consciousness of action (people come to believe their lies).   

Being conscious of others’ behaviors and motives is a place to hone one’s self-awareness. 

  • Make the effort to find common ground  and articulate it
  • Take the step to trust first and test the outcome later
  • Measure to what extent you are willing to accept repercussions of mistrust
  • Make the choice to trust to the level where trust is not broken

What is your  X factor of what makes for a great leader?  Leave your comments on my blog Chart Your Change.

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