What Is A Leader?

The question continues to come up, “What is a Leader?” So let’s try to answer the question as clearly as possible making a distinction between leadership and management.

We’ll start with the most basic distinction and that is that a Leader sets the direction and a Manager utilizes the resources to get them there. Although there are some lines that are crossed in both directions the primary difference is that Leaders lead and managers direct.

However, lets dig a bit deeper into what is a leader, and why do people follow them?

The part of a leader that sets them apart from the average person is that they are visionaries. They have the ability to see a problem and envision a real solution. I use the term real solution because there are plenty of dreamers out there that come up with bizarre off the wall ideas that realistically end up being a disaster.

Remember that on May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy made a declaration that America would put the first man on the moon. Guess what? On July 20, 1969, that vision became reality when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the lunar module (nicknamed “Eagle”) down onto the moon’s surface. Yes, America did put the first man on the moon regardless of how impossible it seemed to the average American at the time. President Kennedy’s vision was real and it inspired the American people to rally around the vision.

This brings up the other trait that all leaders have and that is the ability to express their vision in a way that has others wanting to follow them. It’s not enough to just have a vision! You must create a reason for people to follow you in accomplishing that vision.

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate told the Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. People all over the world rallied around those words and the Berlin Wall came down a little more than two years later on Nov. 9, 1989, rejoining East and West Berlin. The Berlin Wall (nicknamed the Iron Curtain) held East Berlin citizens inside the communist run city for 28 years.

This brings us to one of the most important traits all good leaders have and helps to answer the question of “What is a Leader?” Integrity! A so called leader without integrity will most likely be called a dictator!

The first thing people think of when referring to integrity is honesty! However, integrity runs much deeper than honesty! Integrity is a set of core beliefs and solid principles that a person lives their life by. As an example I am committed to serving God and believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and is my Savior. If I claim to have integrity this belief will not wavier no matter what outside pressures I am placed under.

So “What is a Leader?” A leader is a person with a vision who has integrity and because of that integrity others will follow them.

Thank you and may God bless you!

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