Categorized | Opinion

Two Characteristics of a Leader

By Mike T. Smith

Open Mike for webThis summer I’ve had the privilege of speaking at several youth conferences and the number one request I receive from event coordinators is leadership training.
First things first. What is a leader? Who better to go to for that definition than the leadership expert of the world John Maxwell? His definition of a leader is, “A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
Sadly, a lot of people define leadership as, “A leader is someone who bosses people around, is hypocritical and holds a certain title. Don’t question me.”
Too many people think that people assume leadership characteristics as soon as they receive a certain title; titles such as Dr., supervisor, manager, CEO, and waffle eating champion. These are all great titles, and accomplishments to be proud of, especially the waffle eating champion (I’m ready for a nap after waffle number two) but they aren’t necessarily synonymous with leadership.
Leadership can be developed over time with consistency, study and massive action, which brings me to two characteristics of a leader.
1. 1)  Leaders are life long students. They are always studying and asking questions. They not only ask questions from people who are more successful than they are but they also ask questions from subordinates, because leaders realize that everyone can teach you something. Leaders never feel as if they know it all and they are above learning from others.
2. 2)  Leaders are action takers. Studying and acquiring knowledge is one thing, but actually doing something with that is what separates the haves from the have-nots. I personally know people that study all of the greats in their particular field, and they study, and they study, and they study, and they…study. Knowledge is not power. Knowledge APPLIED is power. That action creates results, and results inspire others to greatness and take action. That’s leadership.
Of course there is more to leadership than these two characteristics. For more info on leadership connect with me on twitter at @MikeTSmith and sign up for my newsletter at http://

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July 2015
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