Why leadership?

Leadership greatly affects the happiness and development of you and the people around you. Ever had a bad boss that made you feel miserable and want to quit? That’s the impact of a bad leader. Ever had a school teacher that made you feel confident, happy, and appreciated? That’s the impact of a good leader.

The Magic Phrase

Leadership almost always has something to do with influencing people to achieve specific outcomes within a given context in time and space. Here’s my magic phrase for what makes a good leader:

Good leaders influence a variety of people in a variety of situations to achieve great outcomes.

The Four Parts of Leadership

The magic phrase breaks down into the four parts of leadership:

  1. The leader is important because she seeks to influence people in a variety of contexts to achieve great things. Everyone can be a leader.
  2. People are important because they are not completely controllable – you can’t just give a set of instructions to people and expect them to comply with robotic precision and obedience.
  3. The situation is important because often times you can’t control it either – the situation dictates your constraints and limits what outcomes are available to you and your followers.
  4. The outcome is important because without any kind of strategy or objective, you’re just trying to persuade and influence people without a sense of direction.

As you can see, within leadership the only parts that are controllable is your self and the outcomes you’re targeting. A good leader is able to develop her self and her vision, and get limited resources to work with constraints in order to achieve that vision. Therefore, leadership is primarily a way of thinking about what you can fully control, what you can partially control, and what you cannot control in the pursuit of a vision or mission.

How to use this blog to develop leadership

Like other arts, such as music, the best way to develop leadership is to break it down into understandable parts, study those parts, and practice applying each part in an iterative process. Each blog post is described according to the four parts of leadership. Read them, reflect on them, and practice the leadership “way of thinking” in your daily life.