Leadership…All Shapes & Sizes

Leadership is one of those qualities that many believe they have.  Some who believe themselves to have the characteristics of good leaders are correct about themselves.  Others with that same opinion of self are dead-wrong and always will be.  Leaders come in all shapes and sizes.  Some lead one or two, others lead 10 or 15, and still others lead hundreds and even thousands.

I have led others in the military setting and I have led others in a corporate setting.  I see some who think they are great leaders, and I see many of those that do not appear to have a clue about what leadership really entails.  Leadership in a military setting is bequeathed to those who are deemed to have some leadership talent.  Some of those ‘leaders’ prove early-on that they are not leaders.  Military leaders at the unit level are both non-commissioned officers (non-coms) and commissioned officers.  Lives literally are at stake.

Other people I have known and worked with proved to be very capable leaders in business settings and displayed their talents without fail no matter the setting.  Some settings where leadership is essential includes where lives are on the line (military, firefighter and police officers) and some include athletic activities of varying levels of importance, but which do not equate to a life or death situation.  However, there are those in athletics that seem to believe that every game (yes, these are still games) is a life and death matter.  Professional coaches are leaders where big bucks are on the line, and those positions can involve loss of jobs if winning is not the habit that owners expect it to become.

Then we get down to academic athletics where there are schools known far and wide for their athletic teams.  Those are the schools that do make hiring and firing decisions of coaches based on wins and losses.  Those are also the schools that tend to attract the top- tier talent because top-tier talent has to prove to itself that he or she can handle that next step up.  One seldom sees, at this level, the sight of a leader dressing down his or her team because they lost a game.  If anything, these leaders make a point of taking the entire blame upon themselves since they were the ones that taught the players, that coached the players how to play at the higher levels.  They were the ones that made the calls as to plays or formations.

When I see the players taking it on the chin from their coach, especially if in a public setting, I tend to make up my mind pretty quickly.  This is a man or woman who is not of the caliber required for such a position where emotions, and hopes, and even scholarships at higher levels are on the line.  Leaders learn quickly that the people they lead are ready and willing to look to them for leadership so long as their best is expected, and so long as they are part of the ‘family’ that constitutes the team.  Their teams will give their all.

Hillary Clinton is not a leader.  Donald Trump is a leader.  Vince Lombardi was a leader, but we see the NFL littered with people who finally got to the level they couldn’t handle.  Most of the great leaders no matter in what arena show themselves as the quiet, thoughtful, demanding but fair coaches in their field.  Sure, they’ll holler and show anguish on their faces but they do not belittle their team members.  When you see that occur, you know that person had been called to the level he or she was not capable of handling well.

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