The Major Attributes of leadership #12:

Now going off-script (relative to the observations of Napoleon Hill) with some observations of my own, guided and influenced by some of the best leaders I have had the pleasure of working with …

Leaders need “core values”, which they can impart to their followers to inspire and promote the best they can get out of those who serve them and whom they serve. It is a truly symbiotic relationship. As I have stated earlier in these blogs … the goal is to ensure the whole is greater than the sum of its parts … that the inspiration of the leader elevates the followers to give and accomplish far more than they even realize they are capable of.

So … #12: Flexibility:

A leader cannot be rigid and inflexible. We live in the most dynamic and diverse (not to mention challenging) time in history. The face of business, information, technology and the economy change very quickly and it is nearly impossible to predict and control what happens from day to day.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that “Control is an illusion”. People become very rigid in their plans and expectations and when “control” slips through their fingers, they become angry, frustrated, irrational, even vengeful. The reality is that there is very little in our lives or the circumstances of our daily activities that we actually control.  In law this is called “Force Majeure”, which loosely means things which no one can control … things like weather, labor shortages, the affairs of sovereign nations which may result in war, affecting supply chains or raw materials costs, etc.  Indeed, control is an illusion that can easily set a Leader up to fail if flexibility is lacking.

Followers cannot be demeaned or criticized for circumstances they may have no control over, nor can a good leader be arbitrarily punitive. A good leader must understand that the path to the goal rarely, if ever, follows the map outlined at the outset of a venture. Therefore, being flexible and creative in response to changing circumstances and demands is an absolute necessity if we expect our followers to continue to grow in their faith and trust in our leadership. Rigidity and lack of flexibility will only generate frustration and defeatism in the ranks of our followers.

The Major Attributes of Leadership (#11 of 11):

“Cooperation”: Successful leaders must understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce followers to do the same. Leadership calls for POWER and power calls for COOPERATION.  (From: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill) …

One of my favorite quotes goes as follows: “Early in life, we are concerned with our own success … but once we become true leaders we are concerned with the success of others”.

The truism here is that concern for only our own success, welfare and pocketbook by its nature alienates us from those whom we want to follow us. Regardless of education, people can easily sense a “one-way” relationship. By alienating potential followers, what we are left with is just our own limited resources of time, expertise, effort and funding. In essence, our “footprint” on the earth is small. Sadly, a great many people are fine with this and greedily hoard all rewards of success for themselves, thereby doing little or nothing to improve the world around them. However, by encouraging cooperative effort, by empowering our followers to be and do their best, and by sharing the rewards of success generously with them … in other words, becoming concerned with their success ahead of our own … what happens is that the cooperative efforts of the whole become greater than the sum of the parts. We generate an army of doers, thinkers, executers and leaders in their own right whose collective footprint on the earth becomes massive. This is the only way that a leader of vision can see their vision yield results both spectacular and earth-changing.

Think: Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Martin Luther King Jr.

Without leading through a spirit of cooperation, the impact of these men would have past on with end of their life or the sunset of their position of power and/or influence. Instead, the movements of such leaders has changed the world scene perhaps forever, with great masses of people benefitting from the collective efforts.  If you want to be a Prince or Princess … you need to see beyond your own gratification.