Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Real World Application by Rich Grisan

Few things in the history of this world are timeless, and most are intangible. At some point, even the monuments the human race cherishes so much will disappear. The Pyramids are falling apart, Lady Liberty is slowly decaying and the Eiffel Tower will eventually rust into nonexistence. The things that last forever and are remembered by all are most often unable to be captured, photographed, or even documented.

Leadership is one of those everlasting qualities that nearly all species turn to for guidance in both good times and bad.  Most animals have an alpha that leads; uncivilized tribes have a chief; teams have a coach and captain; and developed countries have a leading body of
people.  We remember such leaders as Sun Tzu, Achilles, George Washington, Vince Lombardi and Martin Luther King Jr. for their impact on the world, not measurable by common scales, but by the movement of the individual.

 Leadership, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is "the office or position of a leader" or "capacity to lead."  True leaders, the ones that leave a mark on those they lead, are rare and I believe that is why we have such an affinity for leaders.  That is why leadership is such a valuable asset to both an individual and an organization, which we have tried to dissect the quality to its very core.

 John C. Maxwell, known as America's expert on leadership, has written over fifty books on leadership, its qualities and how to further an individual’s leadership capabilities.  Two of his most popular titles break down leadership into twenty-one characteristics in the hope that each sub-section of leadership can be tuned and mastered.  In my personal favorite of his books "The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow," each chapter focuses on one of the 21 qualities.  Maxwell opens each chapter with a real world example of a professional leader exhibiting that quality. In these short paragraphs before each chapter, Maxwell mentions historical figures such as Michelangelo, Benjamin Franklin, Ronald Regan and Donald Trump; characters world-renowned for their ingenuity and creativity, but not entirely for their leadership. Maxwell tries to show his readers that leadership can be found in the most odd and recluse locations at a variety of historical times.

Leadership has a variety of real world uses. Analyzing and teaching leadership, like Maxwell, is only one example. Vince Lombardi is my personal favorite leader, and he made a living off leadership. Lombardi was the Coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s.
Coach Lombardi was known for his strong words and memorable quotes directed to his team, popular businesses and political figures. Lombardi inspired the will and ability in his players to perform at the highest level at all times.  In "Winning is a Habit," a book compiling some of Coach Lombardi's most popular quotes and speeches, Coach Lombardi speaks of leadership as a gift.

 -"The leader must be willing to use it. His leadership is based on truth and character. There must be truth in the purpose and willpower in the character. Leadership rests on only upon ability, but upon commitment and upon loyalty and upon pride and upon followers."
In closing, leadership is an intangible that, regardless of career choice, profession, age, or gender, is valued at the highest expense. The power to move the hearts of individuals is so important in every aspect of society, and organizations both big and small, rely upon leaders to further their endeavors.

"Men respond to leadership in the most remarkable way, and once you have one his heart, he will follow you anywhere"- Coach Vince Lombardi

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