When I think back on the leaders that have had the greatest impact on me and my life, I find a common theme. I don’t mean by that that they were all the same. They were, in fact, very different. Some were charismatic, some were quiet. Some were eloquent, some were a bit coarse. But all of the great ones focused their organizations and their teams on the same things; getting everyone headed in the same direction and protecting the organization’s human, knowledge and physical assets.
At the time I was working with these leaders I was so busy trying to make a difference myself that I failed to take note of where their power came from. I have now had time to look back and see what it was about these leaders that made them a joy to work with. The great leaders I have known were not powerful because they were brilliant—even though some were very smart. They did not get their power from their good looks—sorry about that if you are one of those leaders and you are reading this. They did not get their power from who they knew, or how well they were connected—some of the most connected leaders I worked with were also some of the worst.
The great leaders I have known had power because each day they showed a commitment to provide direction and protection for their organizations and teams. It really is that simple.