Being a leader is much more than just having the title of leader and occupying a leadership position. Leaders are challenged every day to make sound decisions to move their organizations and employees forward. Selecting new leaders is a critically important process. As such, perhaps it would be more prudent to hold any congratulations and pats on the back for the person being promoted into a leadership position for several months to see how the new leader is actually performing. Is the newly selected leader on the way to evolving into a good leader or a charlatan who is agonizingly regressing into an intolerable boss who is doing everything he or she can do to hide a personal lack of leadership ability and talent.
Once a person is placed in a leadership position, the status quo cannot be maintained because everyday situations will arise that call for action requiring leaders to demonstrate their ability or lack thereof to actually lead. Leaders cannot escape the fact that they are in the spot light and their words and actions are magnified. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “People ask what is the difference between a leader and a boss? The leader leads and a boss drives.” When there are good leaders in an organization, you can feel its positive tempo, mood, and tone which combine to create an overall atmosphere that is inviting, relaxed, and supportive. Good leaders set the example regarding how leaders should operate and they have the innate talent to take an organization and the people in it to the next level. Leadership just comes natural to good leaders; it defines who they are as individuals who have the God-given talent to lead. Poor leaders as Roosevelt states are the ones who “drive” their people within an atmosphere and environment of high anxiety, micro-management, and top down decision making. For the poor leaders who lack innate leadership talent, leadership is about personal gains in authority, prestige, and money as they move up the chain of command. To them, success is measured by how far they have come to accomplishing their own personal goals.
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 and a director of a human resources office in the Department of Defense. Okum has written “Leadership DNA,” a guide book about identifying, selecting, and developing natural born leaders. The book also explains how to deal with poor performing leaders before they cripple an organization.
For more information about Paul Okum and “Leadership DNA,” visit