Important Characteristics of Leadership

When beginning a presentation on leadership I usually show on the screen a headline for an article from the New York Times (May 1, 1992) that caught my eye a few years ago. The headline stated, “Afghan Leader Lacks Followers.” Then I ask my audience to tell me what is wrong with this picture. They quickly get the point and laugh. (As it happened, this headline and story was well before September 11, 2001.) The point is that first and foremost, leadership is a relationship. It does not matter what a person's self-concept may be; in the case of leadership, without a follower there is no leader. This is the first of three important characteristics of leadership.

Second, leadership is personal. A leader can ...

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