The best job descriptions address the common questions of Who, What, When, Where, and How. The common question ‘Why’ is excluded because it remains self-evident, there is a “something” desired from the job, or the job would not be considered worthwhile. Since value and rewards are the beholder’s sole facets, ‘Why’ has been excluded as superfluous. The sum of these points and positions is derived, deduced, and selected from the following resources, and this list is not all-inclusive, Avolio (2008), Boylan (2005), Brady (2005), Carpenter (1868), Chaleff (2003), Lundin (2000), Costa (2008), Hamlin (2008), Hinckley (2000), Oyinlade (2006), Morrow (1935), Sandburg (1926), Wren (1995), and Yukl (2006).
Wanted: a Leader
The successful leader is morally obligated to embrace loyal opposition. Loyal opposition is found in those following, taking and giving counsel and guidance to improve plans, implement ideas, and garner the individual buy-in from free agents. Loyal opposition ensures that integrity, responsibility, and accountability are not lost or forgotten. The leader is a teacher, and a teacher is a leader. The cycle for learning and teaching does not become lost or less significant as rank is increased. The inverse occurs. The greater the position, the higher the responsibility to remain engaged in the learning/teaching cycle. All Applicants must have the following characteristics:
- Drive and Determination – This is required as the task is difficult, the work often arduous, and the pay is never sufficient.
- Education and Experience – Knowledge is good, but a continued thirst for learning must supersede past educational experiences. Experience in applying education is critical. Without experience in application, academic success is not enough to obtain this position.
- Willingness to sacrifice – As a leader, the followers need to be trained and supported; this requires a considerable measure of sacrifice in time, resource allocation and demands innovation in thinking and flexibility in approach.
- The power to delegate – A leader does not have enough time to meet all their responsibilities; if a leader cannot delegate, oversee, and inspire others to action, that leader cannot achieve success and is not a leader but a manager.
- Willing to follow without sacrificing the need to lead – Leaders can never sever the ties to being a follower, but the leader must act to lead. Above all else, leadership requires balancing between being a follower and leading well.
- The ability to exude a ‘Quiet Confidence’ – Knowing you know what to do, have the ability to find the answers, and still meet achievement goals is required to inspire confidence and determination in others.
Charismatic people need not apply. Those possessing ‘Chutzpah’ are always welcome. Charisma is a potent drug and, when combined with the power of leadership, tends to lend itself to abusing followers. People possessing ‘Chutzpah,’ e.g., having the backbone to make a stand and remaining standing long after others consider quitting, are always in demand. Determined ‘Chutzpah’ will be the order of the day to make a change, lead in flux, and drive the change in others while putting followers at ease, delivering praise, and inspiring others to achieve.
The ideal candidate possesses a working and living knowledge of history, politics, sales, marketing, customer service, and a devotion to seeing others succeed. The ideal candidate must be willing to be an example and remain engaged mentally to the tasks of leadership. Other qualities an ideal candidate would possess include:
- Understanding of the difference between monitoring and overbearing
- Emotionally stable
- Enthusiasm for learning and living
To apply, follow current leaders well, be engaged, be positive, and ask questions. Shortly leadership positions will develop to begin the leadership training process. Never forget, being a good follower remains key to being a good leader! While awaiting your opportunity to become a leader, increase your literacy in general, including fiscal literacy. Be the best follower possible, even if being a good follower requires you to stand apart from your peers. Be willing to stand for principles, morals, and ethics without budging or giving way in the face of adversity or temptation.
Learn that a good leader is a teacher, and a good teacher is a leader, even if all they do is follow well. Delegation requires teaching; teaching requires knowing and using knowledge to gain experience; hence, volunteer, ask for additional jobs, take on assignments, and open your mouth to offer advice and suggestions. A good follower and the best leaders speak up, speak out, and reflectively listen to gain mutual understanding in all they do. Never allow peer pressure to silence you!
Avolio, B. J., & Yammarino, F. J. (2008). Transformational and charismatic leadership: The road ahead. Vol 2. Bingley, United Kingdom: JAI Press – Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Boylan, Bob (1995). Get Everyone in Your Boat Rowing in the Same Direction. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble.
Brady, C., & Woodward, O. (2005). Launching a leadership revolution: Mastering the five levels of influence. New York, NY: Business Plus – Hachette Book Group.
Carpenter, F. B. (1868). The inner life of abraham lincoln: Six months at the white house. New York, NY: Hurd and Houghton.
Chaleff, I. (2003). Leader follower dynamics. Innovative leader, 12(8), Retrieved from http://www.winstonbrill.com/bril001/html/article_index/articles/551-600/article582_body.html
Costa, A. L., & Kallick, B. (2008). Learning and leading with habits of mind: 16 essential characteristics for success. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/108008/chapters/describing-the-habits-of-mind.aspx
Hamlin, R. G., & Sawyer, J. (2007). Developing effective leadership behaviors: The value of evidence-based management. Business Leadership Review, IV(IV), 1-16. Retrieved from www.mbaworld.com/blr-archive/scholarly/5/index.pdf
Hinckley, G. B. (2000). Standing for something: 10 neglected virtues that will heal our hearts and homes. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
Lundin, S. C., H. Paul, and J. Christensen. Fish!, a remarkable way to boost morale and improve results. Hyperion Books, 2000. Print.
Morrow, H. (1935). Great captain: The lincoln trilogy. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company.
Oyinlade, A. (2006). A method of assessing leadership effectiveness: Introducing the essential behavioral leadership qualities approach. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 19(1), 25.
Sandburg, C. (1926). Abraham lincoln: The prairie years. New York, NY: Blue Ribbon Books.
Wren, J. T. (1995). The leader’s companion: Insights on leadership through the ages. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Yukl, G. (2006). Leadership in Organizations. 6th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
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