Real leadership

Real leadership begins with listening. In so many spheres -- the public sector, the not-for-profit, and the private -- leadership isn't some kind of machine-gun decision-making. Rat-a-tat-tat, do this, do that. Real leadership begins with listening, with the inherent humility of a question.

The purpose of leadership is to make meaning. It's to identify what matters, then to start assembling the human resources to focus on that issue.

Then, by harvesting the "wisdom of crowds," leaders do something breathtakingly simple. They make things better.

I think much of the frustration of our times, when so few people trust either elected leaders or CEOs, is just that these so-called leaders are so full of themselves, so arrogant, that they've stopped listening. And so they stop learning.

Many people seek power and authority. But neither confers wisdom.


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