Over the next few Power Ideas, Founder and CEO, Jerry Houston, will take us through a concept of leadership that will help us think, situationally about what High Impact Leaders must do in order to
maximize their effectiveness. We start with the idea of “A Concept of Leadership.”


Throughout the years, many volumes have been written which list and elaborate upon the personality characteristics of leaders. You need only check the literature on the subject to discover that there are as many characteristics and combinations of characteristics, as there are leaders.

With all of their differences, however, leaders do have some similarities.
* First, an effective leader in a group or organizational setting has mastered the art of Self-Leadership.
* Second, successful leaders have taken time to determine where they stand and where they are going. Leaders know who they are, who they are becoming, and how to use their strengths.
* Third, to be an effective leader in a formal role, you must know where you are taking the organization, and believe that you are going to get there.

As you function in a goal-directed, confident, and determined manner, you will attract others to you. Formal leadership then, most definitely is an extension of self-leadership.

Let’s examine this idea from another perspective. Let’s look at four scenarios in which formal leadership is required. As you examine each situation, think carefully about the qualities you would desire in a leader.

1. Your company is going through an intensive period of retrenchment. Cost-cutting is the key. Every position is being examined. What are the three most important qualities you want in a leader?
a. ________________________________________________________________
b. ________________________________________________________________
c. ________________________________________________________________

2. You are a member of a civic organization in a suburban community. There is a sharp difference of opinion among the members as to whether or not an industrial power plant should be allowed to be built in the area. Tempers are very short on both sides. What are the three most important qualities you want in the leader of the association?
a. ________________________________________________________________
b. ________________________________________________________________
c. ________________________________________________________________

3. You have been involved in a collision at sea. You are in a lifeboat in a heavy gale with ten crew members and the captain of the ship. One man has an injured leg and appears to be in serious condition. The boat is designed to safely carry a maximum of ten passengers. What are the three most important qualities you want in a captain.

a. _________________________________________________________________
b. _________________________________________________________________
c. _________________________________________________________________

4. You are a bookkeeper with ten years of service. The pay is good and you are happy with your work. You have a family, a mortgage, and a new car. What are the three most important qualities that you want in your leader?

a. __________________________________________________________________
b. __________________________________________________________________
c. __________________________________________________________________

By now you have grasped the point of the exercise. There is one common theme which reoccurs throughout these four examples and that is, “Leadership is situational.” A high impact leader responds appropriately to the needs of the situation, and to the needs and expectations of those involved. There are times when following is the appropriate behavior of a leader. There are also times for being a coach, mentor, teacher, problem solver, decision maker and friend.

As a leader, you must be many things to many people. Next week, we will discuss the second concept in this series, AUTHORITY AND POWER.

Have a Great Week!