By Randy Snyder

Leaders, leadership and leadership styles have long been a personal interest of mine and something I studied over the years.

I have selected the following quotes which offer excellent perspectives on leadership:

My job was to make everyone understand that the impossible was possible. That’s the difference between leadership and management.” — Sir Alex Ferguson

A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him.” General Douglas MacArthur

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams

Some of our past Presidents were great communicators and were known for their indelible quotes that defined their positions, beliefs and posture as leaders. A few are:

President FDR declaring World War II addressing the nation: “We have nothing to fear but fear its’ self!”

President John Kennedy beseeching the nation to be more self-reliant and self-dependent “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!”

President Ronald Reagan, the great communicator, advocating small government quoted “Government is not the solution; government is part of the problem!”

The world stage today has prominent, powerful leaders in countries throughout the world that have wreaked turmoil, malfeasance, chaos and divisiveness. Some of the individual characteristics of these leaders are narcissism, power grabbing, personal wealth, idealistic beliefs, political motivation, despotism and dictatorial styles. Their actions and personal choices are the center piece that will change history and the world forever. The ensuing results have created refugee mass exodus and deportations, threats of war, genocide, heinous punishments, wide spread poverty, loss of freedom and even, government coups.

A professional coach in the world of sports cannot succeed without leadership qualities. Many coaches come to mind when making that analogy. Here are a couple:

Bill Belichick, One of today’s great NFL coaches that in his unique way and unconventional style and even appearance is coach of the NE Patriots NFL team. Coach Belichick is the epitome of “Success breeding Success and surrounding yourself with good people with great potential”. During his 16 year tenure as coach of the Patriots, seven of his assistant coaches have become head NFL coaches, seven have become head coaches of NCAA colleges, one assistant has become a head coach in the CFL!

Vince Lombardi the famous coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1967 who was known for rigid conditioning and grueling practices for game preparations he put his teams through believed and was quoted “I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

My personal observations of successful leaders during 40 years with large companies and a stint in the US Navy, are as follows: (In many cases I observed how to be a good leader and separated those qualities from the qualities that were averse to me personally and not good examples of leadership qualities or styles).

  • Great leaders are great communicators.
  • Great leaders believe in spectacular rewards for spectacular results.
  • Great leaders are interested in their subordinates’ personal lives along with their business successes.
  • Great leaders always recognize team results as well as individual results.
  • Great leaders keep people informed and are responsive to everyone’s’ issues and concerns.
  • Great leaders illustrate by their example, “do as I do, not only do as I say”.

I would like to close with a definition I offer as it pertains to the qualities and attributes of leadership from my standpoint and how I judge those in leadership positions everywhere:

Excellent Leaders evaluate the situation and apply a solution or action that is right to remedy the problem not always doing the right thing according to policy or past precedence or to please their superiors. Leaders have self-confidence and are secure in taking risks that are out of the ordinary and oft times not “politically correct” due to the optics created. Successful leaders are people oriented, have charisma and ability to relate to all subordinates regardless of their position in the hierarchy of the business or organization they are associated with. Outstanding leaders provide people the knowledge and tools people need to succeed and believe that “knowledge isn’t power, however applied knowledge is power!” Finally, awesome leaders apply synergy in all their actions and understand there is no “I” in team!