Be a Leader Worth Following

Leadership has become a big business. There are books, videos, framed quotes, blogs, seminars and consultants … all waiting to make us more effective leaders – at all levels – within our organizations. There are leaders people are paid to follow. Examples are abundant in the military and Corporate America. Then there are leaders people want to follow. I think common characteristics among these examples include, competence and compassion, strength and servanthood, purpose and principle. You’ll find these leaders in all walks of life.

Effective and healthy organizations are led by a person or people whom we trust and have confidence in their ability to keep us cohesive, rally us to/for a purpose, provide for us, protect us, make us better. A mistake people often make is expecting leaders to have all the (right) answers all the time. Andy Stanley, founder of Atlanta-based North Point Ministries, said it well: “The goal of leadership is not to eradicate uncertainty, but rather to navigate it.” And besides navigating the today, leaders must be simultaneously preparing for the future. Effective and healthy organizations have leaders who care less about their place on the org. chart and size of office than they do about the collective performance of their team members and sustained success of their organization. They are people who choose to be an example to others. And take the responsibility that comes with the role.

Every person has opportunities to lead. And some great leadership examples occur by people without the official title. The choices we make as to what words and actions we’ll use to lead will make us worth following. Or not.