We all have the potential to become leaders. Very few of us are leaders all the time, but we all encounter moments in our lives when we can, and should, lead others. In a committee, in business, at a social club, at home, or at a religious institution, we all find a time in our lives when we have an opportunity to lead. Few people set out knowingly to become leaders; rather, they see a need and they find a way to take on the challenge, and often, others choose to follow their example.
Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, Professor of Medicine and Faculty Dean for Continuing Medical Education at Harvard Medical School, is one of the most impressive and enlightened people who I know. He has recently published, Leadership by Example, a book that is both engaging and thought-provoking. The book is organized by the LEADERSHIP mnemonic which Dr. Chopra explains as:
L – Listen, E – Empathy and compassion, A – Attitude, D – Dreams and decisiveness, E – Effectiveness, R – Resilience, S – Sense of purpose, H – Humility and humor, I – Integrity and imagination, P – People skills and principles.
Dr. Chopra recognizes that leadership is an important attribute, but it is very difficult to grasp as a concept. So rather than taking a theoretical approach, he has deliberately recounted a number of leadership examples to motivate all of us.
Great leaders move mountains, but they first move people. Even after having read it, I have kept it on a nearby shelf, as I plan to revisit it on a regular basis. I encourage you to do the same.