A true leader can be defined as a person who possesses great social influence and charisma and can enlist the aid and support of others in order to manifest a vision and accomplish a common task. The genesis of all enterprise is an idea.
All projects begin as a vision through imagination. They are carried out with an attitude of great optimism: namely the belief that what is merely an image in one’s mind can be made concrete in the external world. Leaders first need to convince themselves and then get people to share their conviction that this vision is worth the effort.
No doubt, the idea or the vision is crucial, but ultimately it is the execution what separates simple dreams from concrete life-enhancing or life-changing products and services. Leadership is based in inspiring the execution. Visions without action are hallucinations. T.S. Elliot said in The Hollow Men: “Between the idea and the reality… falls the shadow.” The term Executive means to execute.
Leaders like athletes are tasked with playing the game while observing it as a whole. Leaders need to develop “court sense”. Leaders have developed the art of keeping a sound perspective that allows them to be engaged in day-to-day tasks, yet still see the big picture without getting lost in details. This takes focus on, and devotion to the vision and a sense of the future.
Warren Bennis is an American scholar and author who widely regarded as a pioneer of the field of Leadership studies. His research in the 1960s led him to foresee a change in organizational structure toward less hierarchical, more flat and adaptive institutions.
He anticipated this trend in both private and public institutions. He has written many books on the subject of leadership and is the go-to resource for more information on the subject.
Here are some examples of Bennis’ wisdom on leadership:
· Create a compelling vision, one that takes people to a new place, and then translate that vision into a reality.
· Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult.
· People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.
· Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.
This is a great list of traits to look for in others and to aspire to in yourself.