Listed below is a selection of quintessential leadership articles that caught my attention this week. As I said in my last post of recommended articles, quintessential leaders read widely, but they also read selectively through the criteria that makes them quintessential leaders. Not the least of that criteria is unimpeachable character – who they are.

The difference between quintessential leaders and everyone else is internal authenticity and commitment to what is true and right. Quintessential leaders stand up under the test of time and circumstances, unwavering, undaunted, unwilling to compromise with truth or the right things.

As I’ve read extensively about Benghazi, the IRS, Bloomberg, and the Department of Justice, as well as the continuing “too-big-to-fail-banks” stories this week, it is overwhelmingly evident that there is no shortage of unquintessential leadership everywhere we look.

Being in a leadership position does not make a person a leader, nor does it make a person a quintessential leader. At the core of quintessential leadership – and what makes a person, whether he or she has an official leadership title, a quintessential leader – is unassailable integrity. That is one of the fundamental components of building trust and being trustworthy.

We, as quintessential leaders, make huge mistakes sometimes. We have colossal failures at times. We have serious Integrity Must Be Our Compasslapses in judgment sometimes. We’re very wrong about things at times. That is part of being human. However, the difference between quintessential leaders and everyone else is that quintessential leaders:

  1. Admit mistakes, failures, lapses in judgments, and being wrong quickly
  2. Take full responsibility quickly
  3. Take aggressive action to correct quickly
  4. Apologize to everyone affected quickly
  5. Make amends everywhere they need to be made quickly
  6. Simultaneously, conduct a deep and fearless internal review to see what happened to lead to the outcomes
  7. Commit to and undertake diligently better self-governance and change

That’s what is missing is all the news stories I mentioned above and that is why all the people involved on all sides of the stories are unquintessential leaders. Blaming, justification, excuses, twisting, spinning, angling, and lying are unquintessential leadership traits.

I urge each of us to always look at everything through the quintessential leader lens. Get all the superficial and extraneous stuff out of the picture – emotions are one extraneous  thing – and use the quintessential leader criteria outlined in building trust and being trustworthy to test everything.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how we feel. What matters is what is right. What is true. What is honest. Emotions, as I discussed in “The Quintessential Leadership Balance Between Facts and Feelings,” can obscure right, truth, and honesty.

A sampling of what else I’ve been reading this week:

In Mike Hyatt’s article, “Why You’re Not a Leader,” some of the characteristics of unquintessential leadership are highlighted, including the one of getting results, but doing it through dishonesty and deception, which no matter how “big” the win in the short term, erodes and destroys trust and trustworthiness in the long term. If we are dishonest in how we do things, we cannot be trusted in the what, the why, the when, and the where of any part of our lives either.

6 Categories of Bosses” by Dan McCarthy is an interesting – and one I agree with – graphic breakdown and short description of the six types of people who end up in leadership positions. It’s important, from a quintessential leadership perspective, to remember that the words “boss” (which implies a heavy-handed “do-as-I-say-or-else” role) and “manager” (we manage things and we lead people) are not leadership words, titles, or roles. They are dysfunctional functions created by dysfunctional organizations (all organizations have developed dysfunctionally, because as humans, we’re all dysfunctional to one extent or another, and humans create organizations). As quintessential leaders, we must be vigilant to ensure that we are not bosses or managers, but instead leaders.

In David Peck’s article, “10 Essentials of Great Leadership, many of the facets of quintessential leadership are covered. Two areas that stand out to me – and are integral to the way I lead – are knowing the difference between being “informed” and being “involved” and delegating the “what” and not the “how” to team members.

This second point is one I follow faithfully. Team members cannot grow, nor can they reach their full potential as quintessential leaders – that is the point, after all, of our leadership legacies – if they are forced to operate in somebody else’s box of “how” to do things. Each person on this planet, while having many traits in common, is also unique in approach, perspective, temperament, personality, and gifts.

When people in a leadership positions force their teams to work in their box of “how,” creativity, innovation, progress, change, and success are stifled and, eventually, extinguished. Look at morale problems in organizations and you’ll find that this is one of the root causes.

Glenn Llopis provides a quintessential leadership integral and automatic – this is who we are – to-do list in “Great Leaders Do 15 Things Automatically Every Day.”

TrustIn Tristan Wenmer’s “5 Qualities of a Successful Leader,” a big-picture view of quintessential leadership traits is summarized. As this blog continually reiterates, the first trait on the list is trust.

The final article, “When Leadership Fails,” by Jeremy Statton discusses some of the things that quintessential leaders need to do when they fall short – as discussed earlier – of being quintessential leaders.

I hope our weeks have been productive and I hope that we’ve moved forward in becoming more quintessential leaders than we were last week. As I’ve said before, this is a marathon and not a sprint, and it requires constant, diligent, and courageous work and effort. But never forget, no matter what the ups and downs we encounter along the way – because we do and we will – the final result is absolutely worth it. 

  1. ccbible11 says:

    Reblogged this on Concretized Christianity and commented:
    From my Quintessential Leader blog. Truth, integrity, and honesty are discussed here.


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