Learning to Be a Leader

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.  Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter I've been thinking a lot lately about leadership. Many organizations are led by people who are not born, or even trained, to be leaders. There is often a profound lack of self-confidence about leadership ability, and- even more scary- a real lack of ability.  This doesn't mean that leadership skills can't be taught, or learned.  But having a leader who is unsteady in his or her role can create a huge void in an organization as it grows.

Of course, it is the responsibility of an organization's board to select, guide,  support and evaluate its leader.  If there are gaps in a leader's skills or abilities, it is the board's job to provide opportunities for learning and growth.  And, if such growth is unsuccessful, the board bears the onus of making a change.

If you are a leader or aspire to be one , you might be asking, "What does a leader actually have to accomplish to be effective?" There is no specific recipe for success, but here's a few tips:

  • Make sure your staff is happy
  • Ensure that your organization is fiscally sound
  • Inspire your team to think about the big picture (mission) in everything they do
  • Encourage your staff and yourself to grow as individuals and learn new skills
  • Endeavor to work collaboratively with your board
  • Be open to feedback on yourself and your organization
  • Maintain a sense of humor


I'd love to hear your thoughts on leadership, or answer your questions.  You can reach me at ewoolfe@intuitionconsult.com.