The Basic Ingredients of Leadership

by Nimia Acebes on September 26, 2009

Warren Bennis, in his book “On Becoming a Leader”, listed down the following basic ingredients of leadership:

First is guiding vision. A leader must know where he is going and be able to convince his people to follow him.  According to John Maxwell, “ Time flies, moral soars upward, heroic stories are told, and commitment is the watchword. Why? Because the leader has a vision….  Without it, energy ebbs low, deadlines as missed, personal agendas begin to surface, production falls, and people scatter.”

Second is passion – the underlying passion for the promises of life, combined with a particular passion for a vocation, a profession, and a course of action.  The leader must love what he is doing as this conveys hope and inspiration to his people.

Third is integrity.  Warren Bennis cited three essential parts of integrity:  self-knowledge, candor, and maturity.

Self-knowledge – until the leader knows himself, his strengths and weaknesses, knows what he wants to do and why he wants to do it, he cannot succeed in any but the most superficial sense of the word.  When a leader knows what he consists of and what he wants to make of it, then he can invent himself.

Candor – is the key to self-knowledge.  It is based in honesty of thought and action, a steadfast devotion to principle, and a fundamental soundness and wholeness.

Maturity – is important to a leader because leading is not simply showing the way or issuing orders.  Every leader needs to have experienced and grown through the following – learning to be dedicated, observant, capable of working with and learning from other, never servile, always truthful.

Integrity is the basis of trust, a quality that cannot be acquired, but must be earned.  It is given by co-workers and followers, and without it, the leader can’t function.

According to John Maxwell, “When I have integrity, my words and my deeds match up.  I am who I am, no matter where I am or who I am with.”

Another basic ingredients of leadership are curiosity and daring.  Leaders wonder about everything, want to learn as much as they can, are willing to take risks, experiment, try new things. They do not worry about failure, but embrace errors, knowing they will learn from them.

In actual situation, vision statements are provided most of the time by the top executives.   Due to non-participation during the formulation, there are some followers who fail to embrace or internalize their vision statements.

John Maxwell said: “Sadly, integrity is a vanishing commodity today.”

Some followers do not trust their leaders anymore because words and deeds do not match and some are perceived to be unprofessional and dishonest.

On the other hand, it is also hard for government leaders to be daring because of government restrictions.  Their actions must always be in accordance with existing laws, decrees and orders.  Failure and errors can cause worries  as their detractors may use their deficiencies in filing cases against them in proper courts.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

marj November 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm

love it!!! 🙂

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Nimia Acebes November 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Thanks Marj

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