The When of Leadership

This post began as “Is Everyone a Leader?.” I quickly realized that this
is truly determined though the crashing together of needed skills,
desire or duty, the situation, and timing.

John Wayne typically played characters that are leaders – people follow him over the hill or turn to him for “The Plan.”

To the contrary, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s character Jack Dawson in Titanic rose to the occasion during the cruse. If he had taken the boat
before or after the Titanic, would Dawson have made it to the First
Class Deck and had a life changing effect on a rich girl?

Does the situation create the leader – even for those ‘natural’ or ‘born’
leaders? Being in the right place at the right time certainly has some

I can recall a recently graduated MBA – top school, great student, head
of the class – who joined my organization and spent several frustrating
years casting about trying to be a leader with no success. He
certainly had the training and abilities for the task, but was
unsuccessful in bringing it off – during this period there was just no
compelling situation which required a new leader to step forward.

On the other hand, during an early game in the 2004 ACC Basketball Tournament when the team was trailing, John Gilchrist slapped the floor and took leadership of the team – it was electric!
Through his playing, encouragement of his team-mates, and creating a
shared vision that the trophy was theirs, the University of Maryland
basketball team won the 2004 ACC Basketball Championship. Gilchrist rose
to the occasion and was clearly the leader at the tournament, but did
not serve that role either before or after. Timing…the right
circumstances…each member of the team playing above their best
effort…all brought together under his leadership.

Leadership in an organizations is ‘assigned’ to certain positions or titles – a
team captain and a company CEO are expected to be leaders. Often,
situations develop which require a leader to address the situation or
circumstance – either immediate or ongoing – and a person steps up to
take the role. There is no magic pill here – the individual needs to
have the traits & skills necessary to pull this off, but like Dawson
(mentioned above), it just doesn’t work too well if you missed the
boat or took an earlier one.

The WHEN of leadership is an interesting issue – and there are many, many
stories and examples of ordinary people rising to the situation at hand
to become leaders.

This topic will become very rich and insightful through the sharing of such stories – PLEASE add a comment below with your favorite example of a ‘made leader.’ By doing so, we may better understand the common elements and can apply this knowledge to develop potential leaders.

Presentations you might find useful:

Talk Your Business How to make more and better sales right away!
December 7th, 7:30am to 9:00, Intelligent Office, Alexandria

How to Scale Your Organization – Build, Borrow, Buy
Thursday, December 9th, 7:15am to 8:30, Intelligent Office, Rockville

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