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Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership by Phillip Van Hooser

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Chapter 3

The Essential Element

Ground Rule #3
Leaders cannot function in a vacuum;
Leadership requires willing and able followers.

The Essential Element

It should be clear to you by now that leadership is not a spectator sport. You can’t sit passively on the sidelines, expecting the desirable objectives of leadership growth, influence, and impact to mysteriously manifest themselves in you, because it’s not going to happen. To be effective as a leader, you must get in the game. You must engage.

As discussed in Chapter 2, effective leaders must be willing to offer desired service and be able to take appropriate action. However, it’s fair to assume that you may have some questions at this point, questions like, “Yeah, Phil, but where do I start?” “Who exactly should I be serving?” and perhaps the most pressing question, “What should I do first?”

Personally, I’ve always believed the best point from which to begin any worthwhile, long-term undertaking is to invest the necessary time up front to identify whatever that thing’s essential element is. That is, determine the make-or-break aspect of the deal.

Let’s assume you’re in the market for an automobile. You’re admittedly flexible when it comes to considering what you want; you’re open to either a new or preowned model, a coupe or a sedan, a red or blue paint scheme. But the one nonnegotiable in your personal decision making is that your next vehicle must have an automatic transmission. If various automobiles you look at have every ...

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