Are Leaders Made?

Over the last several days, I’ve presented quotes from some great leaders:
Margaret Thatcher:

“Being powerful is like being a lady.  If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t”
Carl Jung:

“The true leader is always led”
John Quincy Adams:

If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader”
Ralph Smedley:

“Leadership is the capacity to influence others to achieve worthwhile results”

Taking into consideration what these leaders have said, I conclude that there are 4 characteristics that, if we strive to achieve, will develop leadership qualities in ourselves. 

These four characteristics are:
Manifesting your power through example and action

Allowing yourself to be led by your team

Inspiring others to achieve more

Developing the capacity to influence others toward worthwhile results

The question has been posed by almost every generation, “Are leaders born, or are leaders made?”  In fact, Toastmasters International has recently rebranded itself with the tagline “Where Leaders Are Made”.  Perhaps leaders are “made”, 

However, based on the acronym above, I believe that leaders are MAID.

Please let me know what you think… 
Would this acronym be a helpful guide to you as you develop your leadership?

Thanks for the birthday laughs!

I posted a link to this blog on my LinkedIn page, and here was a response from KK.Tow:

Hello Jackie

Your fish bowel framework is good and useful.

Life is a moving targets.

Can fish bowel framwork help? Appreciate it very much if you could say a bit more.

Warmest regards

Dr. K K Tow

Then Scott Simmerman, PhD replies:

KK and the other readers –

I had a laugh, with the spelling, as I am sure a few others did. Since KK and I have been connected a while, I thought it okay to respond.

Fish Bowels bring up a different image than one initially intended, I think:

Bowel:
1a. The intestine. Often used in the plural.
1b. A part or division of the intestine: the large bowel.
2. bowels The interior of something: in the bowels of the ship.

I think of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but maybe that IS more typical of what happens in the workplaces of some organizations than we think…

I think what you meant to say was “fish bowl,” since that indicates that there is a clear fluid containing a fish or fishes. A fish bowl being a way to look around and see everything (no privacy and nothing hidden).

But the stats on the issues of employee engagement and the tendency of people to either quit (roughly 10% of the new unemployed simply chose to quit and walk away from work, from what I read) or stand ready to run (roughly 60% of currently employed are ready to take another job at the first opportunity). Does that mean that the workplace stinks? (think: fish bowels?)

Have fun out there!

Thanks for the fun and laughs on a day I’m feeling older!

Who’s Ralph Smedley?

Thanks to all of you for your comments regarding the quotes I’ve provided from leaders.  One more quote I’ll provide on the subject of defining leadership is by Ralph Smedley….
Who the heck is Ralph Smedley, you might ask?  He’s the founder of Toastmasters International, an organization I’ve been a part of since 2007.  His quote pretty much sums the whole idea and definition of leadership up for me…

“Leadership is the capacity to influence others to achieve worthwhile results”

Based on the education I received as I read “How to Care for Your Goldfish”* this definition seems to be the one constant that applies to ANY environment or situation that exists in your fishbowl.  Having the capacity to influence others in an ever changing environment is a prime example of leadership.
Please tell me what you think of what Ralph has to say…
Do you have any experience with Toastmasters International?  Their tagline is “Where Leaders are Made”…
*Please see my website http://NavigatingYourFishbowl.com  for the full story

Presidential leadership….


John Quincy Adams,
6th U.S. President said…

If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader”

In the healthcare practice, or the organization, or the business you work in, have you ever felt inspired by the leader to dream more, do more, or even become more?

Have you, as a leader, ever inspired your team members to become more?  (I said INSPIRED…not REQUIRED)
Please let me know what you think about what President Adams has said…

What do Psychologists say about leadership?


Carl Jung,
the founder of Analytic Psychology made an interesting observation: “The true leader is always led”

This is very inspiring to me.  A leader who can be led is humble and teachable. 
Do you require or expect leaders to KNOW everything, or would you rather be led by an individual who can be taught and inspired by their team? 
Tell me what you think…..

Margaret had this to say…

I hope everyone had a great weekend! 
Today, I want to begin by sharing a quote about leadership by a well-known leader.


Margaret Thatcher
, the first women, and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom said, “Being powerful is like being a lady.  If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t”

IS LEADERSHIP ABOUT ORDERING PEOPLE AROUND in order to prove you’re powerful, or for any other reason? 
Tell me what you think!

One-Word Definitions for Leadership

Thanks to those of you who posted your one-word definitions for Leadership.  I noted:

  • Empathy
  • Vision
  • Integrity

Some of the words that were posted on the LinkedIn message board were:

  • Authority
  • Power
  • Skill
  • Knowledge
  • Manager
  • Superiority
  • Initiative
  • Guidance
  • Governing

I learned through this exercise that it’s very difficult to define leadership in just one word.  There are as many different ways to define leadership as there are different situations, different cultures, and different reasons to lead.  Trying to define so many differences in just one word doesn’t seem possible.

On my next post, I’ll provide definitions by some of the world’s greatest leaders. 
Please share what some of your most respected leaders have said about leadership…

Defining Leadership

I appreciate the comments that have been shared by Arny, Norma and Victoria.  I HOPE MORE OF YOU will join in the conversation about the definition of leadership.
While you’re thinking, I’ll share an experience I had with “leadership” (or in this case, the lack thereof…)

I was once hired by a dental practice to facilitate a workshop on Leadership. 

“My staff lacks customer service skills”, the doctor said.  “They don’t communicate with each other well, and they aren’t getting along”. 

Several weeks prior to the day of the workshop I sent a questionnaire to all the employees and asked them to answer some questions about the practice anonymously.   

Based on their answers, I discovered the following:

  • No one understood what the game plan was
  • There were no written job descriptions
  • An office policy manual either didn’t exist, or they’d never seen it

Survival mentality was evident in this practice.  Each individual had the same goal—“get my work done and go home as soon as possible”.  The doctor was right, there was no communication, nor did anyone understand the specific role they played in the providing practice success.  Because this doctor had failed to provide clear expectations, the team was floundering.   There were no rewards or pats on the back when things went right; yet, individuals were being blamed by everyone else when things went bad.  

As unfortunate as this situation was, it was not surprising to me.  I had seen these types of behaviors and attitudes many, many times.  This office fishbowl environment had been conditioned by an owner who was not practicing effective leadership.  I looked forward to providing guidance to this doctor and mentoring the team through improved communication.

However, on the day I arrived to facilitate the workshop, the doctor had excused himself, and had left the office.  He assured the staff he’d be back when it was time to see the patient scheduled that afternoon.  This doctor didn’t attend ANY part of the workshop that he had paid me to facilitate to improve HIS practice. 

It was clearly evident to me why the environment of this fishbowl was so turbulent: this doctor must have assumed that all the problems with communication in his practice were the fault of his staff.  He didn’t know that as the leader, he was responsible for the environment of his practice.   

I invite you to respond with examples you’ve seen of both good and bad leadership…

How do you define Leadership?

Since I’m a member of LinkedIn and belong to several consultant and HR groups, I was very interested in a recent question posted by one of the members of one of these groups.
The question was “If you could define leadership in one word, what would that one word be?”
As you can imagine, the response was all over the board, and answers were coming in for months as many discussions ensued.
Without influencing you in any way by revealing what others said, I’d like you to answer the same question here on my blog.
If you could define leadership in one word, what would that one word be?
Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!