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Executive Director's Message - The Qualities of Leadership

by Stephen J. Gehlert

Last month, the Executive Committee of OFDA and myself had the opportunity to attend the Annual NFDA Leadership Conference. This is always an excellent meeting and an opportunity for OFDA's Leadership to share ideas with our peers in NFDA and also the other State Associations.

Being a Leadership Conference, the keynote speakers addressed us each day with ways to improve our leadership abilities and to empower those we work with to become leaders in the future.

Bob Ash, one of these keynote speakers, gave a powerful presentation on the final day of the conference and I would like to share some of his ideas with you.

The heart of this presentation was how a leader continues to grow in his or her position. Bob stressed the fact leaders must constantly be growing themselves if they expect others to continue to want to follow them.

Here are a few of his ideas to help you grow as a leader:

1. Develop A Servant Leadership Style The truly great leaders are not in it for personal gain. They lead in order to serve other people.
2. Be A Builder of Positive Relationships Leadership is always about influence not titles or position. The best way to influence anyone is to develop a strong relationship that attracts other people to you so they want to learn and grow with you as their mentor.
3. Have Excellence As Your Standard No one respects mediocrity. Leaders who have the right to lead give their all to what they do. They illustrate daily their work ethic and their passion and love for what they do. As John Maxwell says, "They set the standard by their own behavior."
4. Bring Out The Best In Others When you look at leaders who are admired through the years, you find men and women who helped others to live better lives and reach their potential. This is the highest calling of leadership and its greatest value.
As you can see from reading this list, leadership requires solid people skills. After all, it is people we lead and people we want to embrace our dreams and visions. If we are successful leaders, the people who work for us will continue to grow as will our business.
As Bill Bradley said, "Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better.

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