I have been thinking a lot about leadership lately, especially considering NAHREP will have the great John C. Maxwell at the national convention in September. Maxwell is widely considered one of the foremost authorities on the subject of leadership. Unlike other more quantifiable skills such as those in accounting, legal, science, or technology, leadership skills are more nuanced — meaning there is not a definitive recipe for what makes someone a good leader. It is a complex combination of skills and attributes that in their entirety create the type of person who other people are willing to follow. I have seen and met hundreds of “leaders” in my day. Some have inspired me in profound ways, but most have underwhelmed me. Here is a list of some of my least favorite kinds of leaders:
Braggart leaders — You see these people everywhere today because they appeal to a certain crowd, but they are my least favorite kind of leader. Braggart leaders are insecure people who make up for their feeling of inadequacy by constantly reminding people how much money they have or how great they are. They occasionally try to justify their bragging with false modesty by telling stories about how poor they were or how bad they had it at some point in their life, AKA their “pit”, and how they overcame that to become a phenomenal success. Braggart leaders are all hype, and most serious people eventually burn out on them. True leaders don’t need to talk about how great they are.
Leaders, who lead from behind — These are leaders who have no original thinking and are afraid to go against the grain. They only do what is popular and rarely take chances. They may think of themselves as consensus builders and are generally pretty nice people, but they are not leaders in the truest sense. Real leaders stick to their principles even when it is unpopular, and they have a powerful ability to take people where they don’t always want to go.
Dictatorial leaders — These are people who think leadership is all about telling others what to do and “busting their chops” as they say. They are unwilling or too insecure to consider other opinions or ideas. They believe that their position or title requires people to follow their orders, and they bully their way to everything. Dictatorial leaders are the screamers and get off on humiliating people. Because of their position, people are sometimes forced to deal with them, but without their title, no one would spend five minutes listening to them.
“Do as I say not as I do” leaders — These people are usually great orators. They know how to sell a message, but their life is usually a mess. They rely solely on their gifts as a communicator to inspire people, but they do not do the things themselves that they preach to others. Real leaders lead as much by their actions as they do with their words.
Great leaders are entrepreneurs and head up Fortune 500 companies. They lead great movements and sometimes change history. If NAHREP is about one thing, it is about creating great leaders in the Hispanic community. If the subject of leadership is important to you — you don’t want to miss John C. Maxwell at this year’s NAHREP National Convention at L’ATTITUDE in San Diego.