Good leaders rely on their awareness of their own innate leadership talent to know when to engage an issue, situation or crisis. They seem to possess a sixth sense about how long to assess and analyze a matter and when to engage and deal with it. They are quite comfortable with knowing when to apply the necessary leadership to a situation. They know when to go from analysis to discussion and then to action, and they reflect a sense of urgency to deal with the issue at hand. Good leaders only need approximately a 75% chance of being successful to act. And then they will adjust on the move to handle the inevitable changes.
Good leaders regard standing up and being counted and being counted on as a reflection of their deep sense of commitment to their workforces by ensuring them that they “have their backs.” The act of standing up and expressing oneself in difficult and emotionally charged situations demonstrates courage and self-confidence in good leaders. Because of this, good leaders will develop over time a consistent work ethic that is predictable and can be relied upon by their workforces. Workers know where they stand with good leaders. When they see their leaders stand up, they understand that any action taken is an expression of the innate leadership talent that has been forged from within them and that the situation will be handled appropriately. From reliability comes trust; from trust comes everything else. Leadership isn’t something you acquire; it’s something you are born with. Standing up and being counted is a simple act, but it symbolizes the essence of leadership. Successful organizations have within them good leaders and responsible workforces that come together to form a partnership of mutual respect and commitment to each other. Good leaders will establish formal mechanisms to ensure that their workforces have the means and opportunity to express their opinions. And good leaders will pay close attention to what they are saying and provide judicious and timely responses.
Poor leaders on the other hand, are much less concerned with taking action. They are more interested in maintaining their position of superiority in the organization. Consequently they will jump up rather than stand up to demonstrate that they’re in charge. However, when it’s time to be counted, poor leaders will often shrink from the responsibility of having to take action to deal with a situation.
Paul Okum has 40 years’ experience with the Federal Government in the Departments of Transportation, Interior, Army, and Defense in leadership positions, including being a US Army officer. Okum has written “Leadership DNA,” a guide book about identifying, selecting, and developing natural born leaders. For more information about Paul Okum and “Leadership DNA”, visit