“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better” - Harry Truman
Opportunities present themselves in many ways. And not just during challenging times, but in good times as well. As a leader, it is your responsibility to identify and realize these challenges that face your organization. They can manifest themselves in decisions on expansion or contraction, relocation or renegotiation, whether to close or stay open and how best to do so.
Leadership is not always easy. It comes naturally to some, and much more difficult to others. To be called to leadership is an honor and a great responsibility. People in your organization rely on you to be focused, prepared, compassionate and competent.
A leader has character. Perhaps this is the most essential trait of a leader. General Norman Schwarzkopf once said “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy”. The people in your organization look to you for leadership. And character is the biggest component of your leadership.
As you lead your organization, your folks judge you by your character and when they find it, they develop confidence in achieving goals. Character must be learned and cultivated throughout your life. Perhaps you developed your leadership skills from your time leading your student council, your school band, your service club or an athletic team, or maybe even your fraternity or sorority. Now, as you progress through life, you can work your way up through your organization, to become that leader that everyone looks up to. Superiors and subordinates watch you and how you lead. They observe your character and how you treat people, and evaluate how you develop your core competencies.
True leadership cannot be faked. It must be honest and genuine. It can be learned through conscious effort or it can be developed by trial and error. It’s up to you, as the leader in your organization, to seize the best opportunities that present themselves. Your people are counting on you.