What Leadership Is Not

This is a guest post by my good friend Derek Reed, a veteran leader of the 20 Leadership Camp. You can follow his blog by clicking here, or follow him on Twitter by clicking here

If I was to travel back in time and ask President Eisenhower what he thought about leadership, he would respond, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” This means that a leader inspires people.


So how does one go about inspiring others? Is it listening to others? Or is it picking up slack? Is it learning to delegate tasks and work with others? Or is it standing up for someone or something? Does leadership tell you what to do and how to think? Or does leadership cause you to think? And we could go on for days asking questions, finding answers to the questions, and then asking more questions based on the answers that we found. But let me share an example of something a leader is not…

One of my favorite game shows as a young boy doesn’t run on T.V. anymore. However, if you listen closely to the world around you, you might still hear the show’s catch phrase today – “You are the weakest link…Goodbye!” The Weakest Link was a game show in which nine people would work together answering questions, building a sum of money. At the end of each timed round, players would choose to vote off one person that they thought was the worst player of the game, hence the catchphrase. I had always wanted to be on the show.


Good leadership does not eliminate the weakest link of the team. Instead the leader inspires the weakest link to become better, to work harder, and to strive for excellence. Good leadership goes beyond barking orders or finding followers, but works alongside others. A leader listens more than talks, and shows other what to do through their actions, not just words. Leadership recognizes its strengths and weaknesses, and doesn’t boast in either, but accepts both as integral parts of them.

You chose to be read this post because you are a leader. I know that in one way or another, you want to be an example to others. I challenge you to try to develop your leadership to the max of your ability. That could be stepping back and letting someone else take charge, or that could be kindly taking charge, or this could mean that through your actions, you exemplify what it means to be a leader. You may feel like the weakest link, or you may see someone else that is the weakest link, but instead of writing off either, you choose to encourage and inspire. We are the leaders of the future. Be the cause.

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