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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S


ship potential. People need to know that their leader has a strong vision for the future and a strong plan for moving forward.


Competency People want to follow someone who is competent. Tat does not


mean you have to be an expert on everything. It does mean that you need to be capable, adept and masterful at connecting the dots, whether that’s in a political scenario, understanding and implement- ing new law, understanding your vision and actively communicating it, or in an almost endless list of other situations leaders find them- selves in. U.S. President Martin Van Buren said, “It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.” For a leader to demonstrate they are competent, it is not enough to


just avoid displaying incompetency. You must demonstrate compe- tency in a way that people notice — mainly by having full command of the facts of whatever you are dealing with. Tis, of course, can be a delicate balance because you do not want to appear arrogant. One of the best ways to diffuse any thought of arrogance is to always share team achievements. Whether you are an elected leader at the state or local level, you are a part of a team and the competent leader always shares the glory of accomplishments — great or small. When people under your leadership look at an action you have taken and think or say, “that just goes to show why he/she is the one in charge,” you are demonstrating competency.


Inspiration I want to be inspired.


Everyone wants to be inspired. Many people will follow an inspiring leader, even when that leader has no other real qualities. Tat, of course, can be dangerous if the leader of-


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either something you’ve got — or you ain’t.” I disagree. Developing intelligence is a lifestyle choice. Any formal education you may have is just the beginning, although it does give you a good foundation for lifelong educational experiences. Competence, which I have already addressed, and intelligence are close cousins, but they are not the same. To develop leadership intel- ligence, you need to commit to continual learning. Te field of gov- ernment and public service is perfect for continual learning because things are constantly changing. It requires a lot of study and reading to stay informed and able to perform within the perimeters of the law. You can develop a great deal of intelligence by investing a reason- able amount of time reading on a daily basis. Did you know that if you spent 30 minutes of focused reading every day you would amass 182 1/2 hours of study time each year? Tat’s almost 23 workdays. As a leader you can demonstrate your intelligence by affably lead- ing people toward understanding, even when you know the answer. Your focus needs to be on helping and leading others to learn, not on demonstrating how smart you are. Intelligence is like underwear: It is important that you have it but not necessary that you show it off. Some leadership traits should be displayed, but trying to display


Intelligence is like underwear: It is important that you have it but not necessary that you show if off.


fers only inspiration and nothing else. I have found that inspiration is the arrow that is missing in the


quiver of many elected leaders. If you are missing the trait of inspira- tion it could very well be that all you lack is passion. Being inspiring is usually just a matter of communicating clearly and with passion. A great example of inspiration is when Steve Jobs stole the CEO


from Pepsi by asking him, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?” A leader who is inspiring is a leader who can share his vision in such a way as to cre- ate in living color the “big picture” and help those around him — his constituents or employees — see beyond their narrow focus of “this is how it’s always been” or “this is the way we’ve always done it” or “why change.” An inspiring leader inspires positive change. Some, especially those with charisma, seem to have a natural talent for inspiration. If you lack charisma, learning to be inspiring is not easy. However, it can and must be learned if you want to be a great leader. Take note of people who inspire you and analyze the way they communicate. Look for ways to passionately express your vision. It may be as simple as developing your ability to tell stories that com- municate on an emotional level and leave an imprint much stronger than anything you can achieve through a simple stating of the facts. To quote John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others


to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Tere is no inspiration without passion.


Intelligence Intelligence can be difficult to develop. In fact, many will say, “it’s


COUNTY LINES, FALL 2014


your intelligence will be counterproductive. One of the greatest signs of someone who is truly intelligent is humility. I believe that is because the greater your education, whether formal or otherwise, the greater your understanding of how little we really understand and how much there is to learn. As unintuitive as it may seem, one of the best ways to exhibit intelligence is by asking ques- tions. Learning from the people you lead and represent by asking intelligent, thoughtful questions will do much to enhance your intelligence credibility. Your ability to demonstrate


respect for the intellect of others will probably do more to influence the perception of your intellect than your actual intelligence.


Summary of Leadership Qualities By consciously making an effort to exhibit these traits, people will


be more likely to follow you, and you will be able to grow your influ- ence as a leader to its full potential. Most elected officials, whether at the county or state level, have a staff — and that makes them a boss. In addition to the leader- ship qualities that have already been discussed, there are certain qualities that make great bosses — bosses that are memorable. Whether you are a part of the “changing of the guard” or an official that will simply start another term at the first of the year, these leadership qualities and qualities of a memorable boss are applicable to you. All of us remember our bosses. Some were bad. Some were


good. Some were tolerable. But have you had one that was truly memorable — in a good way? I have had bosses, and I have been a boss. I truly hope that some of my former employees can say that I was memorable. If you aspire to be the great leader and boss you will want to have the following qualities in your repertoire.


1. See opportunity in instability and uncertainty. When unex- pected problems and major crises arise, most bosses take down the


See “CHANGING” on Page 23 >>> 21


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