"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves." Lao Tzu
The number of tomes, teachers, tweets and testimonials on the topic of true leadership could reach from here to the moon and back countless times. Some of them entertain, some educate, and some engage. Each has a different perspective on what it takes to be a "True Leader". Can anyone really capture the unique character traits that influence us to follow someones lead? To take actions we would not otherwise take, or be inspired to make a difference? Twenty years ago a young man that I worked with gave me a compass, as a gift. He said it represented my steering him in the right direction. Helping him to discover his true north. I still have that compass today and it reminds me of my definition of what a true leader should be. A leader is not a reflection of his star students, his exemplary employees or his most coachable athlete. A leader is not a reflection of the success his exceptional charges achieve. He is not what people say about him in public and to the press. A leader is reflected by his worst student. His weakest employee. His most incorrigible charge. He is reflected by what people say about him in private conversations, behind his back. A leader is not reflected by the employee who is always on time and goes above and beyond the call of duty. He is reflected by the employee who is always late and misrepresents what is expected of him. Leadership is measured by the weakest members of the team. They reflect the real quality of leadership. True leaders understand that it's what they do about the problems, perspectives and people that prove the most difficult that defines how well they lead. They measure themselves by how well the weakest member of their team is doing. How well the weakest member is reading his own compass and moving north. Do you really want to know how well you lead? Take a look at the weakest member of your team - That's the true test.
True Leaders Are Rare.