Headlines, conference keynotes, water-cooler conversations — whatever the venue, today there is more than a little talk about Leadership.

As often as not, the focus is on the lack thereof.

In political seats, board rooms and executive suites, in neighborhoods and homes — in the midst of confusion, disruption, and uncertainty, we bemoan conditions. And a question looms — where is the leadership?

Not — who has the title? Or who is skilled at vying for position?

Who is articulating a vision with such clarity that it inspires action? Who is defining a direction that resonates? Who has the equity necessary to instigate progress?

Title, position, office — these may come with a pulpit; but the brand of leadership that envisions, innovates, and has what it takes to navigate a storm is not dependent on trappings or labels.

Though change agents of the highest order, the greatest leaders know that productive dialogue transcends any platform. It eminates not from a focus on what is wrong, but from a clear vision of what might be..

Great leaders:

  • are obsessed with listening;
  • hunger for a broader perspective and more information;
  • dispense with defensiveness;
  • avoid posturing;
  • are quick to accept blame; and
  • deflect credit to others.

The individual (or leadership team) that inspires consequential action is honest, builds bridges that endure, and is not intimidated by diverse voices in the room.

Whatever the venue, those who will chart a winning course for the future do not require or await a pronouncement of authority or position.

Who is ready to lead?