Expert advice on Business Leadership and tips on becoming a more effective Leader.

Leadership Lesson: What Leaders Do By Joe Tye

One of my favorite definitions of a leader is that of Joel Barker: a leader is a person who takes you to a place that you didn’t know you wanted to go.

This implies two essential roles of the leader. The first is identifying that place that you didn’t know you wanted to go. Before JFK announced the goal, most of us didn’t know that we wanted to land a man on the moon; before Steve Jobs announced the iPad, most of us didn’t know that we couldn’t live without it.

The second is inspiring people to make the often difficult journey toward that place to which they didn’t know they wanted to go. Howard Schultz inspired thousands of Starbucks employees to work harder and smarter in one of the most impressive corporate turnarounds in business history – and this will be the biggest challenge facing Meg Whitman in her role as CEO of a struggling Hewlett-Packard.

That is what made Martin Luther King such a great leader. First, he was able to articulate his dream in a way that anyone could relate to it. In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King laid out his case in a manner that was both highly intellectual and highly emotional, and at places beautifully poetic. In his famous “I have a dream” speech, he described his dream in a manner that could not help but touch the heart of any but the most hard-hearted. And his words inspired millions of people to make the journey to that place than many of them had not known was a place to which they wanted to go.

Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, Robert Schuller would ask us “what would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

Today is a good day to ask yourself – where would you go if every door were open to you, and what words would you use to inspire yourself and others to make that journey?
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Joe Tye is president of Paradox 21 Inc., which provides corporate training and culture change initiatives based on a proprietary curriculum of The Twelve Core Action Values of Personal Leadership Effectiveness. He is also the author of several books and audio programs on personal, career, and business success, and a popular motivational speaker. Visit www.JoeTye.com.

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