“Leaders know well that greatness only can make them great.”
Opening Case Study :
George Washington –The Greatest Leader of All Time
Leadership is something that many aspire to, but few achieve in full measure. It has been deﬁned as being a combination of charisma, integrity, determination, ﬂexibility, resourcefulness, creativity, self-conﬁdence, a sense of responsibility, the ability to communicate, and consistency. George Washington had all these qualities, and he was truly a great leader.
Washington’s greatness can be judged by the way in which he fulﬁlled three important roles during the foundation and early years of the United States; Firstly, as commander in chief of the Continental Army, secondly as president of the Constitutional Convention, and thirdly as the ﬁrst President of the country. Washington was unanimously elected by the delegates to the Continental Congress “to command all the continental forces, raised, or to be raised for the defense of American liberty.” on June 15, 1775.
The reasons given can be gleaned from the writings of those who were there, and in the main they appear to be George Washington’s character, his trustworthiness, and his reputation as being the best colonial military commander. Washington created the Continental Army; his organization and administrative skills, coupled with the trust of his citizen soldiers, enabled him to weld them into a ﬁghting force able to take on the British and win.
Had it not been for Washington, a large part of the Continental Army would have left at the end of their enlistments just after the Battle of Trenton, and his leadership on the battleﬁeld was never better demonstrated than at the Battle of Monmouth, when he took command and not only stopped the American retreat but forced the British to fall back to New York. In the end, Washington’s determination to win the war was greater than that of the British not to lose it.
As president of the Constitutional Convention, George Washington exhibited the same leadership qualities he had shown on the battleﬁeld, and it is little wonder that his ideas
– a written constitution, a strong union with an elected legislature, an executive with the power to enforce the rule of law, the supremacy of national laws over state laws, and the creation of a permanent army controlled by the civil power – became central to the creation of the United States. It is small wonder, therefore, that Washington was unanimously elected to be the ﬁrst President of the United States of American, and that four years later he was re- elected.
Washington was the catalyst for modern day freedom and the embodiment of a great leader. He believed in his men. He was a man of exemplary character. He treated others with the utmost respect. He held his men accountable. He placed the welfare of his men ahead of his own. He did not waver from his guiding principles. He was a man of deep faith who demonstrated that via his actions.
Leadership is not a great mystery. Great leaders have speciﬁc traits in common. Great leaders lead by example with an overriding guiding vision or purpose. They possess an unquenchable passion for successfully implementing the vision of the company regardless of the disapproval of those individuals who fail to see the bigger picture. They don’t waste time worrying about day to day responsibilities or problems. Instead, they focus on where the organization needs to go.
Great leaders know how to be themselves and are proud of who they are. Because they are comfortable with who they are, they are able to do what they need to do and say what they need to say with conviction — and without caring about what anyone else thinks. Great leaders have the ability to inspire conﬁdence in others. They can clearly and concisely communicate their message to motivate those around them to greater heights of achievement. People will do more for leaders they respect than they would do for anyone else.
Also, great leaders are never self-serving. Unlike the star employee, they aren’t focused on proving themselves but are focused unconditionally (and not selﬁshly) on what is best for the organization. They put their vision for the company above their own interests. Great leaders rarely question themselves. Instead, they listen to their inner voice and trust it completely, allowing it to be their guide with each step they take, even as they move in directions that no one has gone before. To be a great leader, you must believe in this voice and trust that it will always be there to guide you.
5 Essential Characteristics of a Great Leader
Being a good leader isn’t easy. While a leader’s actions may be scrutinized when things are going bad, it is their leadership qualities that shine through the worst of times. It is these same qualities that employees look up to, respect, and work very hard for. This is why it is so important for every leader to work hard to gain the qualities of great leadership.
The best leaders exhibit certain qualities that make them hugely successful. Here are 5 attributes of some of today’s truly great leaders.
They are clear and concise at all times–there is no question of their vision and what needs to be accomplished. This gives others the opportunity to digest their goals and decide whether or not they will support their cause. Generally, very few people know what they want, much less how to get there, so they will gravitate towards those who appear to have a clear picture in mind–good clarity leads to great achievement.
Once they have made up their mind, they don’t hesitate to commit–it’s all hands on deck. They show great consistency with their decisions, rarely backing out or changing their minds unless it is absolutely necessary. Being decisive shows commitment, a quality very high in demand for a great leader.
Boldness is both something you can develop and something that is blessed as a virtue. Although some people are naturally more fearless than others, practicing how to be fearless–or at least project fearlessness–is a completely doable task, one many have achieved in order to fulﬁll their role as an amazing leader.
There’s nothing more inspirational than seeing someone who cares about what they do–the best leaders exhibit boundless energy and passion for what they do. Don’t be shy about your passion for whatever it is you are leading, be it a book reading or a laboratory experiment. As long as you are passionate about what you know, or care about, it’ll shine through and people will follow.
While conﬁdence is a very attractive trait in leaders, there’s nothing like a humble character for creating a lovable persona. Great leaders admit when they are wrong and take criticism as an opportunity for growth. Show the world how grateful you are to be where you are. This, in turn, will demonstrate how much you deserve the leadership role.
By focusing on these 5 key attributes, leaders can begin to understand, practice, and internalize the behaviors that buildagreatcharacter.The best leaders exhibit the above- mentioned certain traits that make them hugely successful. Embrace these qualities and you can be a great leader too.