What Does it Take to be a Great Leader? (Part 2)
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
Last week I answered the question, “Are leaders born or developed?” As a reminder, the answer was yes. Everyone is born, and all great leaders are developed. We also established that the foundation of great leadership is character. Regardless of a person’s ability to connect and influence, without character, they will fail, and often it is a crash and burn scenario. Today I would like to take a look at two more qualities every great leader possesses: courage and vision.
Courage. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “Courage is rightly esteemed first among human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” Churchill understood that without courage a person will never act. All the plans and great ideas in the world are useless without the courage to step out of our comfort zones and give them a try. It is also important for us to realize that having courage doesn’t mean we aren’t afraid. Everyone is afraid of something; it simply means that we overcome the fear and do it afraid. Courage is developed on difficult ground. If we always do what has always been done, our courage will never grow. Begin the process of courage development by stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something new. Remember, your life and leadership will only expand in proportion to your courage.
Vision. My friend and mentor John Maxwell wrote, “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” You can’t develop a vision without passion. Passion for something or someone fills us with a desire to make things better. Better in a relationship, better in a work setting, better in a process, better in life. As we desire the better state, we look for possibilities, and we look for opportunities.
Perhaps you feel like you don’t have any vision or even passion. Start by looking within. What are your natural gifts? What do you want out of life? What is your calling? Spending time reflecting on these three questions will help you develop your passion and vision. The other piece of the vision puzzle is our thinking. Are you expanding your thinking by exposing yourself to new information and ideas through books, podcasts, and trying new things? If you are willing to put in the effort, the vision will come. Just remember the ancient words, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
For more information on developing your passion, listen to Episode 44 of The Next Page where Marisa and I did a deep dive into how we feel when we lack passion, how we feel when we are passionate, and how we can cultivate passion. Visit macny.org/episode-44-is-your-passion-gone/ to listen.
Join us for Episode 97 of The Next Page for the continuation of this series on great leadership.