Moving-Target Leadership

Is there a ‘BEST” in Leadership?

Best Leadership Qualities, Best Leadership Practices…

I’ve read the articles, you’ve read the articles and I’ve even written some of the articles. But, is there really a ‘best’ in leadership?

The best qualities or attributes of leadership are often based upon the subjective values of the one defining them. Though there seems to be some degree of consensus on what makes a good leader, a look through history will show that many desired qualities of leadership change, while others seem to be consistent through time.

Today, I’m not thinking so much of the qualities of a good leader, or even qualities of good leadership. Today I’m thinking good leadership is a moving target, meaning good leadership and best leadership is often situational. The qualities needed for great leadership are often defined or called forth by circumstances.

When it comes to decision making, there are times when a leader needs to seek consensus and allow the group to make a decision. There are other times when all the data and comments are in and a leader needs to make the decision. And there are times when it’s important for the leader to instantaneously make a decision. Some of the leadership qualities needed in these situations are similar, but not necessarily the same.

If leadership is a moving target, then qualities like flexibility, problem solving and, openness are of course beneficial. My observation is that leaders who need to be leaders often bring too much rigidity to the equation to become what they most desire.

Perhaps the old adage – those lead best, serve best – is the leadership skill most useful in hitting a moving target.