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Leadership in Six Words: In Reality

I heard Larry Smith on NPR the other day. He’s the author who popularized the six word memoir. I’m probably late to the party on this one but it did get me thinking about the work of leadership and writing about leadership. I confess that I go way beyond six word catch phrases that pack a wallop but I’ve decided that for this year end post I wanted to take up the challenge.  What follows are my thoughts about leadership in six word snippets. Feel free to design your screen savers with them or print them out and hang them next to those ever-entertaining kitten cartoons.

Great leadership is…

Like pornography. Know it when seen.

Looks easy but actually hard.

Not about you. It’s about them.

Hears all, includes all, then decides.

Not always white, male or aggressive.

Fits the context. Changes as necessary.

Unwavering and clear moral compass.

In service of the greater good.

Not for sissies. Requires stamina, courage.

Not for everyone. That’s okay.

Inspiration great but motivation creates action.

Surrounded by other great leaders.

Humble. Spotlight not included.

Always passes the shit detector test.

Often comes in unexpected packages. Look.

Others want to listen and act.

Model what they expect from others.

Keeps private matters private.

Unlike children, seen and heard often.

Wants results and great people. Both!

Okay, that’s 20 of mine. What is interesting about this exercise is getting passed the buzzwords and 60,000 foot view and down to the nub of it all. It’s not about theories or best practices or slogans. It’s about what gets done and how it gets done.

What are your six words? Please add to the list.

Have a wonderful holiday season. I’ll be back in the New Year.

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. My fave — Always passes the s*it detector test!

    December 29, 2015

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