Monday, April 21, 2008

Leadership is about what you DO!

"Leadership is action, not position." -- Donald H. McGannon, Former CEO, Westinghouse Broadcast Corporation

Whether you are the board president, the rabbi, rosh yeshiva, CEO -- or hold any title that makes people site up and take notice, remember what people really want and need from you -- your commitment to roll up your sleeves and participate in a meaningful way.

I believe that most of us have two fundamental needs, regardless of our role in the organization -- the need to benefit and the need to contribute. In fact, when I teach sessions on running effective meetings, those are the two criteria for determining who should attend a meeting. If a meeting participant will neither benefit from nor contribute to a meeting, then give them back their time to do something more useful than sit in on a meeting! Trust me -- he or she will thank you for it, and your meeting participants will appreciate a leaner, more focused meeting process.

Those in Jewish organizational leadership positions often benefit from title, position, status, connections, and paycheck for those in paid positions (and yes, I see you -- the one eye-rolling about the idea of benefiting from a Jewish organizational paycheck. But I won't let you distract me!).

Here's the question: does your level of contribution -- decisions made, problems solved, resources developed -- meet or exceed the benefits you receive from your position? How would your lay or professional counterparts and direct reports answer that if asked about you?

If you're not sure, are you willing to ask? If you're willing to ask, who will you start with? If you're not willing, why?

In the words of writer Elbert Hubbard, "Don't make excuses. Make good."


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