How do you define "leadership?"

With Michigan being a targeted state until a few days ago when John McCain decided to abandon all hope here, we’ve been seeing a lot of TV commercials about why McCain or Barack Obama should be our next leader. Well, that’s the message, technically, but primarily we’ve been seeing a lot of commercials about why the other guy shouldn’t be.

It’s been interesting to see how both supposed leaders and their minions have been trying to prove they’re ready to lead — and to compare it with a list presented recently by a true leader in the private sector.

At a conference in Grand Rapids a few weeks back, Rich DeVos, one of the founders of Amway, shared some ideas on leadership and it was a compelling enough list that I made some notes. Here, with all apologies to Mr. DeVos for butchering his wonderful presentation, are some highlights:

  • Leaders set the tone and the atmosphere.
  • Leaders understand that growth comes from within.
  • Leaders are communicators.
  • Leaders are innovators.
  • Leaders are givers.
  • Leaders are builders.
  • Leaders enrich the lives of others.

Think about this list when you’re deciding who to vote for in November. If you’re like me, you’ll be shaking your head and wondering about the rules for write-in candidates. You also should think about this list when you decide whether you have a good boss or whether you are a good boss.

And feel free to chime in on this list. How do you define leadership? When have you shined as a leader? When have you found a leader to admire and why did they earn that admiration?

And, finally, if you’d like to see part of DeVos’ speech for yourself, it’s presented here, courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press:

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