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The Test of Leadership

Brian Willis

“The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”

James Buchanan

Everyone has within them the seeds of greatness. Your job as a leader is to foster, develop and nurture those seeds. Get out of the way and let the sun shine on them. Create a weed free environment to allow they to flourish. Challenge them. Give them the nourishment, encouragement, and support they need to grow and develop their greatness. Teach them to find the lessons in failure. Help them learn to think critically, make good decisions, solve problems and take action.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

I do not believe that you can motivate others; I believe motivation comes from within. What you can do as a leader is to inspire others.  You can inspire them to dream of what they can accomplish, what they can achieve and who they can become. In order to fulfill those dreams they need to learn more. Learn more about the topic at hand, learn from doing, reading, asking questions and listening, learn from others experiences and learn about themselves through self-examination. And the last piece is for you to inspire them to take action on what they are learning. You can also inspire them to continually conduct after action reviews to ensure they extract the lessons and the learning from their actions.

So, based on James Buchanan’s definition of “The Test of Leadership” how would you rate yourself as a leader? What areas do you need to improve in?

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey. Choose well and enjoy the journey.

Brian Willis