Sunday Snippet: John C. Maxwell

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

What does it take to be a great leader? Some will say that great leaders are the ones with great vision. Others will say that leaders are well organized and they do a great job of delegating tasks to the right individuals. And then you find people who are great leaders, mostly because they also happen to be great orators and do a fantastic job of inspiring those around them. These are all important qualities to have.

I think we all expect our leaders to be “better” than us in one way or another. They may be more educated, more knowledgeable, more insightful or more influential. However, when a leader takes this sense of having an advantage too far, he or she may be accused of being an elitist. This kind of leadership can only last so long, because we want to relate with the people in charge on a very human level. That’s why Barack Obama has photo opps when he’s playing basketball.

And this is fundamentally what John C. Maxwell is trying to illustrate with the quote above. A great leader still needs to be a real person, at some level, and not just an untouchable demi-god where people cannot relate. At the same time, we don’t want our leaders to be our peers either.

If you’re only just as good as me, then why should you be in charge?

We should look up to our leaders. While we cannot possibly expect them to be perfect, we do need to hold them to higher standards, as we really should be expecting more from them than from ourselves. They should inspire us and motivate us to be better at what we do. And by constantly working to improve ourselves, we may become leaders ourselves one day.

“Stop thinking “Can I?” and start thinking “How Can I?” “How Can I” assumes there is a way. You just need to find it.”

Positive thinking can only get you so far, but it can at least help you get somewhere. John C. Maxwell is a “leadership expert” and accomplished author. His organizations have trained and spoken to Fortune 500 companies, the United Nations, the American military and even the National Football League. All of these organizations need great leaders. Are you up for the job?