Tomorrow is not “The Fourth of July.” That is a date on a calendar. It is not the name of the National Holiday that we celebrate tomorrow. The name of the holiday that we celebrate tomorrow is Independence Day. It is the day that we celebrate the declaration of our independence from England.
Today I wish to focus on that word – Independence.
Most organizations are looking for people (and leaders) who can think independently and have the necessary leadership qualities to help act upon those thoughts and make their organization successful.
A Leadership Definition
Many people have different definitions for leadership. Some have boiled it down to just one word – “Influence.” But in general, leadership is the ability of one person to gain agreement, support, and active participation to accomplish a task or a goal. Perhaps it is at the most basic level an ability to get people to follow you. Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon Bonaparte, Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, and Jesus Christ are all leaders in their own unique ways. Some would not be necessarily considered positive leaders. Nor would we want to emulate their actions.
- Julius Caesar ushered in the Roman Empire at the cost of the Roman Republic.
- Abraham Lincoln held the fledgling United States together after the secession of the southern states and the Civil War.
- Napoleon Bonaparte used his creative military strategies and personal charisma to create and rule a great empire.
- Jack Welch took over the reigns at General Electric and during his tenure there, the company’s value rose 4,000%.
- Steve Jobs used his intelligence and passion for computers to “revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.”
- Michael Jordan became one of the greatest basketball leaders and players of all time because of his desire to continually improve, work hard, and take over in tough situations late in the game.
- Joe Montana holds Super Bowl career records for most passes without an interception (122 in 4 games) and he has the all-time highest quarterback rating of 127.8.
- And then there is Jesus Christ. And, well, if you don’t get Him being on the list, then nothing I can say will change that.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books on leadership. And there are thousands, or maybe even hundreds of thousands of blogs, just like this one, dedicated to leadership. Many of these books and blogs identify similar traits, attributes, or skills that comprise a good leader. Here are a few of the most common: