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Creativity

Leading Your Life

An enormous vacuum in leadership exists today—in business, politics, government, education, religion, and nonprofit organisations. Yet there is no shortage of people with the capacity for leadership. The problem is we have a wrongheaded notion of what constitutes a leader, driven by an obsession with leaders at the top.

That misguided stand often results in the wrong people attaining critical leadership roles. When problems surfaced at Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen, Tyco, and dozens of other companies, the severity of the leadership crisis became painfully apparent, creating a widespread erosion of trust in business leaders.

Over the past fifty years, leadership scholars have conducted more than a thousand studies in the attempt to determine the definitive leadership styles, characteristics, or personality traits of great leaders. None of these studies has produced a clear profile of the ideal leader. Thank goodness. If scholars had produced a cookie-cutter leadership style, people would be forever trying to emulate it.

The reality is that no one can be authentic by trying to be like someone else. People trust you when you are genuine and authentic, not an imitation … You need to be who you are, not try to emulate somebody else … Leaders are defined by their unique life stories and the way they frame their stories to discover their passions and the purpose of their leadership.

Bill George, True North

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