As 2010 begins, my hope for the year, and beyond, is that leaders will devote more time and energy to giving people positive reasons to follow them and, conversely, less time and energy to simply decrying or demonizing those who disagree with them. Regardless of political affiliation or national origin, people in leadership positions seem to have forgotten or abandoned the idea that having a position of leadership does not make a person a leader.
Perhaps some holding elected office want to distinguish between governing and leading; a posting comparing and contrasting governing and leading may follow this. Perhaps some in elected positions of leadership equate leading with pursuing the desires of their constituents. Maybe that is governing or something else, but it is not necessarily leadership.
Theodore Roosevelt noted that leaders work in the open while bosses or managers operate covertly and that leaders lead with bosses drive. Rosalynn Carter noted that great leaders take people where they should go and not simply where they want to go. Dwight Eisenhower observed that leaders get people to do something because they want to do it, not because the leader wants it done. Warren Bennis spoke of leaders translating vision into reality. I find that leaders communicate a clear, compelling vision that people embrace and collectively pursue.
As we move into 2010, I hope that people who want to be perceived as leaders start acting more like leaders and start demonstrating leadership, who spend less time speaking against others and more time discussing why people should follow them, and who demonstrate vision, integrity, confidence, courage, compassion, and humility as they model behavior worthy of emulation.