Good foundation must for leading

  • Published
  • By Maj. Michael Blowers
  • 56th Medical Group
In its simplistic form, leadership is defined as getting others to do what you want. Those who follow this thought process typically revert to using conniving tactics to persuade their followers. Many view this as a shortcut to leadership and find it being an ineffective way to lead, without any long-term value.

To build a solid leadership foundation, you must take the long view and consider how your every action will affect your ability to lead in the future. To build trust with your followers, you must act with integrity.

Leading with integrity means doing what you say you will do. Leaders frequently get themselves into trouble when they make commitments without thinking. By listening to what is being asked, and acting only on what you truly intend to, your integrity with your followers will increase.

Along with doing what you say, effective leading means you are supportive in delegating responsibility. Leaders fail in delegating responsibility when they fail to part with control and reach back prematurely to regain. To be most effective, leaders need to be supportive and shoulder some of the responsibility of their followers.

Responsible leaders are servants to their team and their organization. Responsible leaders are quick to recognize two key tasks that they must fulfill in any new leadership position: the vision and the execution.

It's the leader's responsibility to communicate to everyone what the organization stands for. With the absence of clear guidance and direction, confusion and doubt will set in and pave a path to failure. Just as important as a strong vision is the concept of solid execution. An effective leader will assess the strengths and weaknesses of the followers within their organization. Once done, the leader will identify and fill the gaps with resources and/or support needed for organizational success.

Leaders have many qualities that distinguish them from the masses and are recognized by members within the organization.

One of the first steps in defining yourself as a leader is by stepping outside your comfort zone and taking on new responsibilities. You can't assert yourself as a leader unless you can lead from the front and possess a definite level of maturity to prevent you from making decisions too hastily.

As a leader you must also be a good listener and communicator. A leader must be able to control personal emotions and actions and ensure that their decisions are justifiable to their organization.

Not all leaders are born; most emerge through determination, grit and a desire to win. Everyone has the ability to inspire others and create actions through ideas, words and actions. We all have the potential to become leaders at every level, so don't be afraid to fail, and embrace your opportunity to lead. I leave you this quote from retired Gen. Colin Powell:

"The day Soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them," he said. "They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."