What Makes a Great Leader?

I decided I wasn’t going to write a blog post, today. On my run, I had this great thought about this whole Google fiasco, Colin Kaepernick, taking a stand, and employability. It was awesome in my own mind. I’ll probably write it someday. But I just wasn’t feeling it, today.

Then I was scanning the Twitters and saw this tweet from Steve Magness. He’s a professional running coach and author. His quote said, “Great coaches work towards independence. Ego coaches work towards dependence.” I love this. And of course, I thought about the workplace. And sports. And parenting. And teaching.

You could replace “coaches” in this quote with any leadership role. Manager, leader, teacher, parent, mentor, or partner. The best of the best of any of these roles strive to make the one they are teaching independent. They provide the right amount of guidance, tools, and information to get the person on the right path and then they get out of the way.

A leader’s job is not all about the leader. It’s about the student. The mentee. The employee. The measure of a great leader’s success is solely based on the success of those she leads. Help those get to where they want to be. Don’t tell them what to do. Give them options and guidelines. Let them mess up and let them fix it.

It’s tough to let go as a leader. You worked hard to get to where you are. You took a certain path and did things a certain way. You were probably told how to do something, but you also did it your way. Now it’s your turn to let someone else find their way. That’s leadership.


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