A great article written by Orrin Woodward for an online HR website about his views on leadership.
- What are the foundational qualities of all great leaders? Can you acquire those qualities or do you have to be born with them?
Anyone desiring to be a leader must bring to the table the three foundational attributes – Hungry, Honeable, and Honorable – discussed in Launching a Leadership Revolution. My coauthor Chris Brady and I invested hours in attempting to answer why some people become great leaders and others don’t. After hours of discussion, we realized that hunger is the catalyst for all growth in leadership. In fact, one of my early mentors said it was easier to teach a hungry person how to be sharp than it is to teach a sharp person how to be hungry. A hungry person is one who is seeking truth and is willing to invest the time, money, and sweat-equity to learn leadership truths. Honeable, the second attribute, is a person’s willingness to change when confronted with truth. In other words, the common saying – Knowledge is Power – should actually read – Knowledge applied is power. Hungry leaders seek truth, but also apply it to their lives through honing themselves of beliefs and actions detrimental to leadership. Finally, leaders are honorable, modeling the truths they have learned. People will never follow a leader further than they can trust him; therefore, the most influential leaders are one’s who lead with honor, not image. John Wooden once said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” I cannot say it any better than that.
In any event, I believe anyone can be a leader. Since vision is tomorrow’s reality expressed as an idea today, when a person focuses on his vision for the future, he (or she) generates hunger in the present. I have witnessed growth in leadership levels so striking that most leadership teachers would not believe them possible. For instance, I work with a former automotive mechanic, who was so shy he had his wife book his barbershop appointments, that has now become one of my top five favorite leadership speakers to listen to. How did he do this? He was hungry, honeable, and honorable, investing his spare time working on himself through serving others. Unfortunately, until someone believes he or she can change, they won’t exert the effort and thus will not change. Thus, I spend most of my time helping people breakthrough their limiting beliefs so they can create the hunger necessary to start the leadership growth process. Leadership, simply put, is for everyone.