5 Qualities of a True Leader
Updated: Sep 22
For many months now, we have been the audience to political drama. We all discussed the issues, we got angry, we debated among ourselves, at times we got hopeful, and at other times we despaired. I must admit that I felt discouraged and at times disgusted by the lack of true leadership conduct exhibited by Donald Trump. It prompted me to think about the qualities of a true leader and the two words that came to mind were “servant” and “leader”. I know a story that highlights my point.
Centuries ago, during the Revolutionary War, a group of soldiers were trying to move a heavy piece of lumber that was blocking the road. As hard as they tried, over and over again, they couldn't seem to move it from the ground. Their corporal stood nearby giving them directions and probably graciously allowing them a brief period of rest. He may have even sought their input on "how" best to move the huge piece of wood. But after their repeated efforts, his patience was wearing thin.
Another more senior army officer came along on horseback and observed their efforts. After a moment, he suggested that the corporal help his men. The corporal responded with a tinge of offense in his voice, "Me? Why? I'm a corporal sir!"
The senior officer dismounted his horse and stepped over to the men. He positioned himself alongside them, and gave the order to "heave." All of a sudden, the timber moved into the position where they needed it, no longer blocking the pathway.
He then turned to the corporal and told him, "The next time you have a piece of timber for your men to move, just call the commander-in-chief." The officer was George Washington.
Washington’s behavior modeled servant leadership. He led by example. He didn't merely direct others, or solicit their input. He demonstrated his willingness to serve and support them. And as a result, the soldiers felt his tangible encouragement of their work, and he understood the challenges of their roles.
To be a servant leader means aligning the passion in your heart, the vision in your head, and the actions of your hands, to serve the people who put their trust in you and chose you to lead them. Qualities of a true leader include:
Deep care and passion are expressed in your contribution to your community.
Knowledge of your purpose and capabilities.
Taking full responsibility for your vision.
Doing what you do best and delegating to others according to their skills and abilities.
Evaluating daily whether you are proceeding in alignment with your mission.
Each one of us is a servant leader in this life. We serve the people, the projects, and the missions we are involved in and we lead our life according to our vision with a sense of passion and responsibility. I feel that these qualities are the minimum we should ask from ourselves and the leaders of our country.
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