The Seven Essences of Leadership

Leadership is on my mind today.

I just read Phil Gerbyshak's list of top management and leadership twitterers, that includes Rosa Say, Lisa Haneberg, Wally Bock and Steve Roesler. I heard about a new book called The Five Commitments of Leaders by Mark Leheney. And I am preparing to teach a module on leadership at the Rutgers Supervisory Management Development Program.

There are tons of thoughts out there in print and in the blogosphere about leaders.

A couple weeks ago, I had one of my little thought flashes that I usually get while riding on a train, but this one came to me in my kitchen. The word that surfaced for me was essence. So, as is my usual habit, I looked it up in the dictionary:

Essence = the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing; the inward nature; the substance, spirit, lifeblood, heart, principle, soul, core.

So, I asked myself, What is the essence of leadership?

Purpose - A leader is here for a reason, a mission, and pursues it with intention and determination.

Commitment - A leader can be counted on to make and keep commitments.

Presence - A leader will show up and stand up for what's important.

Listening - A leader wants to know what others are thinking and feeling and pays close heed.

Engagement - A leader connects with others, communicates with others, challenges others, is considerate of others, and coaches others.

Vision - A leader is going somewhere good.

Stewardship - A leader accepts responsibility and understands the saying "Take care of yourself; take care of each other; take care of this place."

Posted by Terrence Seamon, October 1, 2009

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