Jul 292013 15 Responses

Two Words That Define Good Leadership

There is a trait in the leaders I most admire, the marriages I most envy, and the people I most respect.

They have a quiet determination.

John Wooden best illustrated this quality. Yet he did so more at home than on the basketball court.

The Hall of Fame coach married his wife Nell in 1932 after six years of courtship. (See: You Chose This–a Reflection on Time Management)

They were devoted to one another for fifty-three years until Nell died of cancer in 1985.

After his wife’s death, Wooden had a ritual that on the 21st  of every month—Nell’s birthday—after visiting her graveside, he would write a letter and place it on the pillow on her side of their bed. It would stay there for one month until once again he visited her grave, wrote a new letter, and placed it on her pillow.

He did this every month from 1985 until a few months before his own death in 2010.

For nearly 25 years, Wooden honored the memory of his wife with a simple dedication.

He didn’t brag about his actions. (See: Two Steps to Solving 90% of Relationship Problems)

He didn’t tell others what he was doing.

When his monthly ritual was discovered by reporters, he didn’t feign humility.

He didn’t stop the routine or act in a different way the next month.

He kept doing what he had always done.

Quiet determination is not a trait of every leader.

Some people lead loudly.

  • They tell you what they are going to do.
  • They tell you as they are doing it.
  • They tell you what they have just done.

Ray Lewis led the Baltimore Ravens to the 2013 Super Bowl with loud determination.

Most politicians try to lead loudly. (See: The One Piece of Advice I Would Give a 7th Grader)

Many spouses attempt to love loudly.

There is a place for bravado for some.

But I prefer a different way.

I am drawn to the Wooden way.

I am drawn toward those who have determination.

  • They have defined what they want.
  • They have detailed how to gain it.
  • And they have determined to achieve it.

These are the people who desire to lead, who don’t want to settle for a second rate marriage or an average team.

They will do everything in their power to make the world better.

These are the people who resist the temptation toward apathy.

They refuse the easy game of blaming others. (See: Trust Me It Matters or Read This Before You Die)

They do what is in their power to make things change.

They are determined.

Yet they are quietly determined.

  • No need for a commercial.
  • No need for a billboard.
  • No need to announce to the world their intentions.

They act.

They train when everyone else plays.

They educate when everyone else entertains.

They care even when everyone else is apathetic.

To look at them, no one would know.

They appear the same as everyone else.

Yet it is what they are doing which no one sees that makes all the differences.

It’s a private, humble, quiet dedication and determination which sets them apart.

Some lead loudly. More power to them.

Let’s choose a different way. Let’s determine what is important, decide what it will take to accomplish our goal, and determine to let nothing stop us.

It’s Monday. It’s time to lead.

What’s a leadership quality you admire in others?

15 Responses to Two Words That Define Good Leadership
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