You are currently viewing Being a leader is not easy
Written by Brent Knight, President of ISS

Many people say that they want to move into a leadership position or role, but then they get there and do not know what to do. Some think that leading is easy, but is it really?

I think that the best way to address this is to look at what it means to be a leader. To some, being a leader means that you have a title, you have control, you have power and people must answer to you. I would argue that this is the least important part of being a leader.

I was once asked by one of my mentors what I thought made a great leader. I am not sure how I answered his question, but I remember vividly how he responded. This person was Mark Hendricks who was the safety director for Baugh Construction in Seattle at the time. Mark told me that a leader is someone who can identify strengths in the people around them, empower those people to make the leadership choice and then help those same people to become leaders. Mark did this better than anyone I have ever known.

In effect, we must first identify if a person has the abilities and then, more importantly, the desire and drive. Once we have established this, being a great leader means that we ask many great questions, we listen more than we talk and we do everything that we can to serve others to make them successful. Some refer to this as servant leadership, but to me, it is simply effective leadership.

Great leaders rarely seek credit or prefer to live in the limelight. Great leaders often give credit to others and look for opportunities to help and grow their teams.

What kind of leader have you worked for? What kind of a leader do you want to be?