Have you looked around at leadership in your community, city, county or state recently? Have you examined the effectiveness of those who would typically be referred to as a "leader" because of the position they hold? What descriptive words come to mind?
The blogs about President Elect Barack Obama have risen to a volume we can no longer take in, and here I am, piling on one more. It is entirely possible that when Barack Obama was working as a community organizer, he too was looking around at people with leadership titles. I believe this was one of the factors that led him to seek the highest office in the land, and one of the reasons he won the election.
As President, Barack Obama will lead from the top with skills that may rival the best of history, I think he is counting on the trickle down effect. He is counting on the fact that the strengths we, the people, see in both Obama and his administration will become the benchmark for every leader in this land. I believe President Elect Obama wants expectations of leadership to be high and unyielding.
When I think of admirable leadership skills, more come to mind than I care to list. Leadership has been examined from many possible angles in books, articles and blogs - but I am compelled to add one more idea. There is one set of skills from our new President that is at the top of my Christmas list - I would be thrilled to find it in my stocking Christmas morning.
I hope President Elect Obama has the ability to see the desired future of our nation, asses the reality of the day, determine results that are necessary to move forward, call people to specific action, and provide a means for them to report their progress.
In short, good leadership requires vision, and that vision leads to a better future for the people. A better future for people means the leader cares for and respects people, and an ultimate form of respect is expectation. But high expectations need follow-through - a way for people to report back about how those expectations are being fulfilled. (Note: There is a big difference between providing a means for people to learn about actions and policies of leadership and express their opinion versus a means for reporting personal action taken in response to leadership directives.)
Would this particular set of leadership skills "trickle down" and influence other positional leaders? It could, if we, the people, demand it. In addition, more and more people would be actively leading by example while working hard to meet expectations of the national, state and local leaders we trust and admire.
A great leader expects more from the people then from their position.