Monday, January 24, 2011

"The Essence of Leadership"

In 2004, Pete Smith, then President & CEO of the Private Sector Council, gave a speech titled "The Essence of Leadership" at the Medina Lecture for the National Capital Area Chapter. We showcase his speech here as we transition information from the About Leadership tool in the Leadership Toolbox.

Smith's Leadership Biases
  • Leaders exist at all levels.
  • Leadership is a personal thing.
  • Leadership will fail unless it's built on strong and genuine values.
  • With one notable exception--the military--the public sector needs to do a much better job of developing leaders.
Smith's Common Characteristics of Great Leaders
  • They have integrity of mission.
  • The mission is more important than the leader.
  • They have a genuine interest in the views of others.
  • They are adept at understanding people's individual skills and deploying them in the right places.
Smith provides insight into leadership development in the public sector. This is a great read for wildland fire leaders.

2 comments:

Doug Downs said...

When I read the descriptions of his Common Characteristics of Great Leaders I am happy to see the foundations of the Fire Leadership qualities DUTY, RESPECT, and INTEGRITY running throughout. I would add something to the description of his fourth characteristic that great leaders are not afraid to employ somebody who might be better than they are. Doing that I think challenges us to step up and try even harder.

It also interesting to see how Smith hits on the fact of how tight budgets often mean restricted training or leadership development. Sadly I think we may see too much of that in the near future with tighter budgets. That is probably a challenge to all of us to find new and inovative ways to further develop our leadership qualities as well as those we lead, (especially those we lead).

Pam McDonald said...

Thanks for the comment, Doug. I concur, especially about tightening budgets where leadership development becomes the sacrificial lamb. You are spot on with regard to innovative ways to develop our leaders.