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Mayes Wilson & Associates

What Kind of Leader Are You?

Sara Wilson, CPCC |


What defines a good leader? My definition, I realized during the recent conference “Rethinking Leadership” at UW Madison, has evolved. At one time, I identified a leader as someone who was out in front, issued directives, enforced implementation, disciplined, and provided rewards.

But, as I have worked with a range of organizations and leadership styles, I have realized there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to leadership and that leadership has changed. Today’s positive leaders inspire, cultivate talent, have clarity of purpose, integrity, and passion, are comfortable not always being in the limelight, and can be working quietly (and strongly!) behind the scenes to effect progress.

Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, has written extensively about how our perceptions of great leadership have grown over the past decade. “The new generation of leaders,” he says, “is far more open and collaborative. They align people around their organization’s mission and values, and empower their teams to step up and lead.” George distinguishes five top characteristics of today’s leaders: inspiring people with vision; empowering teammates; collaborating; appreciating diversity; and being open and transparent with the entire organization.

What kind of leader are you?

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