I was at an offsite meeting with my leadership team this week and it occurred to me that without this team, our organization simply does not function.  Sitting around that table were high competency people who are smart and consistently capable of addressing needs and bringing excellent ideas or solutions.  As I interacted with them that day, I realized that not all leaders are the same; there are good leaders and there are great leaders.

Good or Great?

The good leader is one who solves problems and can hold their own in terms of skills and competency.  You can count on them and they perform.  However, the great leaders I have either known or studied, do something very different than a good leader.

I wanted to see if this group would make the same kind of distinction between leaders, so I asked those assembled around the table, “Why do we get paid?  What is the main requirement to being regarded as leaders?”   I got some interesting comments including my more comical leaders saying, “I get paid because I turn in a timecard.”  I received a selection of other responses, but still didn’t get the response I had in my mind.  Finally, I said we get paid because we solve problems.  There was agreement by all at the table.  I quickly added, “but, some leaders go beyond solving problems.”

Looking for Something to Solve

The leaders who stand out as great are those leaders who look for problems to solve.  They have more energy and they want things to work.  They anticipate future issues and they form strategies to take care of those issue now. 

These leaders are the kind of leaders who move organizations forward.  They take ownership of the organization.  You can trust them and generally when they come to me with an idea, all I need to say is: “That sounds good.”

When it comes to their area of expertise, great leaders look after it in the same way that you would.  Leaders who anticipate problems and seek to solve them create a trusting relationship with their supervisor and are sought after when the organization approaches a new project or faces a new problem.

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