This year has been filled with all types of engagement with all types of organizations and encompassed many subjects. Amidst all that diversity of audience, venue and content, one theme continues to assert itself: leadership really matters. It matters because, as John Maxwell put it so well in describing his law of the lid, “no organization rises above its leadership.”
This year I have watched teams soar and sink, and although there have been many unique aspects to each story, the one factor that is undeniable is that the character and competency of each leader was a determining factor in success and failure alike.
In thinking more critically about the specific competency in each situation, I have come to realize the single most important component in each story is the extent to which the leader had sufficient influence to move the people in a common direction, and the ability to facilitate that movement in a non-coercive way that was in the long-term best interest of everyone. The influence, or lack thereof, in each situation was born out of the leader’s level of authenticity. Being real as a leader means more than anything to those who follow you. To be real you must know and cultivate your character.
Simply put, the success of any organization hinges on its leader’s ability to influence people. The ability to influence is rooted in your authenticity, and authenticity is a matter of character.
My hope and challenge for you is that you will make this coming year one in which you cultivate your character to develop the authentic leadership influence your people need.