Essence of Leadership

I have been thinking a lot about the term leadership! Maybe, this is because I believe we are living in an era of chaotic leadership, or could it be because I believe the leadership compass has shifted greatly in a direction that I find troubling.  I am not sure what the reason for my  constant thought is; however, as Maria Shriver states “I have been thinking.”

The term leadership has many definitions; however, the one that stands out to me is “leadership involves the ability the inspire others to participate in a common goal.” I am still trying to remember where I heard these words; however, they remained with me.  The keyword for me in this definition is the word “inspire.”  .When I think of leaders who have inspired me the most, one person stands out “Mother Teresa.”  Here, we have a fragile-looking woman, who without the luxury of positional power, a beautifully decorated office, jetliner, or other such accolades inspired a movement that today goes into one of the poorest areas of the world, Calcutta, India.  The primary goal behind the creation of this movement was to make a difference in the lives of the individuals who many of us would be quick to cross the busiest thoroughfare to avoid.  Many of us who sow into this movement never met this BOLD and DARING WOMAN and might never visit Calcutta, India; however, we consider it our obligation to contribute to the mission and goal of the Missionaries of Charity.  Now that is what I call leadership, and for me, Mother Teresa continues to be an “Essence of Leadership.”

For me, an individual who is the “Essence of Leadership” DAREs to be that person who, through their actions and words, inspire others to participate in something that is bigger than themselves.  He or she chooses to be innovative, creative, non-conventional, genuine, kind, vulnerable when necessary, willing to support the dreams and goals of others, unapologetic of who they are and what they aspire to become, willing to apologize when necessary, and are definitely unafraid to fail.  They are by no means eccentric enigmas, because, I meet and interact with them daily. You see, they are these strong, unsung family, colleagues, and friends who lead by example, blaze new trails for others to excel, and choose daily to unselfishly contribute to the wellbeing of others. Some do it boldly, others do it behind the scenes, and others are still trying to figure out how to leave their proverbial “footprints on the sands of time.”  I DARE you to follow their example – DARE to be the “Essence of Leadership” to everyone you meet.

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