I personally know Rob Parker, CEO of Kiwanis and Crawford Loritts, pastor, author, and speaker. Both men are men of exceptional integrity. Crawford provided this transcript of the interview that was published in the February 2008 edition of Kiwanis Magazine ( http://classic.kiwanis.org/magazine/february08.asp ). It can downloaded in its entirety from my business website: http://www.focalpointatlanta.com/Articles/Faithful%20leadership%20020108.pdf
Crawford makes an enormous observation when defining leadership. I truly believe that leadership is about passion and vision. Vision with passion is almost unstoppable. Passion is not the cheerleader on the sidelines; it’s the look in the eye of the quarterback in the huddle. The cheerleaders get the spectators motivated (that’s why their backs are to the field of play); the quarterback gets the players to believe that they can win.
Crawford takes it one step further when he talks about assignment. So many businesses fail to achieve their potential because management cannot let go long enough to reach out their hand for help.
Rob Parker (RP): At Kiwanis, we have been talking about how important it is for leaders to be able to communicate a clear and compelling vision. Would you agree with that, and what are your thoughts on the importance of vision?
Crawford Loritts (CL): Vision is everything. There’s no such thing as leadership apart from assignment. Leadership is not a position. Leadership is a verb. If there’s no movement, there’s no leadership. If there’s no task, there’s no leadership. If there’s no assignment, there’s no leadership. By its very nature, leadership is not a corner office with a big desk and nameplate. That is not leadership. Leadership is always about going somewhere. This is where vision comes in. The vision, that’s the target. It is what you see. It’s what gets you up in the morning. It is what makes you pound the table and weep. And if a leader doesn’t feel that, if it’s not worth a sacrifice, then it’s not worth trying to communicate. You have got to be absorbed with the vision. There’s so much that’s nonverbal about leadership. A leader communicates passion with body language and presence, and with their eyes and with all their nonverbal communication … that’s what helps make vision compelling.
RP: Do you believe people are born leaders, or is leadership something that can be learned?
CL: I think we all need to be concerned about developing our ability to lead in relationship to the responsibilities we have. However, I do think there are unique positions that require more than just skill. It requires a sense of innate ability that either you have it or you don’t. Let me give you an illustration. You can teach kids with average hand-eye coordination to be a fairly decent baseball player. But there comes a time where no amount of time in a batting cage is going to help a kid bat any better. There are certain things you cannot coach and cannot teach, like when to swing. And I think that’s true at certain levels of proficiencies and skills. There are some people, no matter how many seminars you send them to, no matter how much training you give them, how many books they read, there is a certain innate sixth sense a leader has to have that makes all that stuff natural; that you can’t teach. Some of it is natural and some of it is learned.
I’m interested in what you think. Read the whole article. It’s well worth the effort. It might make a difference in the way you lead……