“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves”
- Eleanor Roosevelt
So often a leader is thought of as the beacon on the hill, guiding the others toward action. That one person who through shear presence can influence people to move in the direction he/she wants. As odd as this may sound, he/she is only a good leader.
What is the difference? The difference is that a great leader will build his/her team, ultimately to the point where the team doesn't need him/her anymore. In Good To Great Jim Collins writes about Level 5 leaders. I won't go into the details here, because the book is worth the read; but one of the main characteristics of a Level 5 leader is training/preparing your team (after finding the right people in the first place), as well as finding and grooming your successor. In this day and age, many may think that this is suicidal for your job prospects; but the truth is, how can you move on to bigger and better things until your team is ready to work without you, and your replacement is on-hand and ready to take over?
A great leader grows his team, working with them to expand their interests and provide the motivation to try new things. If you aren't doing that, if you are pointing fingers and telling people "go that way" then you are only a good leader. Take a look around you, find out what your team wants/needs to grow into, and start providing the opportunities for them to do just that. Then you will be a great leader.
Also, I apologize for this blog post being late. I hope that the topic is enjoyable.
P.S. I found out that last week's quote actually came from John Quincy Adams. My mistake.