From The Observer News (

Positive Talk
We Need Leaders
Jun 21, 2007, 13:25

At no time in human history has there ever been such a need—no, such a necessity—for leaders to appear. Companies and governments around the world are floundering and, in many cases, small men are casting very long shadows. If we are, as a world, to move through a prosperous 21st century, we need both men and women of vision and courage willing to step forth and lead us into the future. Following are some of the common characteristics that I believe those who will lead us will share.

• Leaders are people who have the capacity and willingness to put others first and who take joy in helping others rise to higher levels. A true leader knows that only by elevating those on his team can he free himself to do even more. If you wish to be a leader, it is important that you are one who is willing to serve.

• Leaders are people who have the ability to listen to other people, not just hear. Think of yourself standing before a crowd and each of the people in the crowd are shouting thoughts and ideas at you. For most of us, we would just hear the noise and miss the messages that are being given by various individuals. The leader has the capacity to filter out the noise and listen to those individual messages. If you wish to be a leader, you must train yourself not only to hear the noise around you, but you must also be able to separate the noise and the message by learning to listen.

• Leaders are people who know how to plan and set goals. Most of us don’t give a lot of thought to planning and goal setting in our daily lives. Every book I have ever read said this should be a number one priority for all of us; but when the kids need shoes, the rent must be paid and we are working dawn to dusk, goal setting can seem like an activity that can come later. For a leader, that time is now and those who hope to lead must have a strategic plan for the future. If you wish to be a leader, now is the time to begin your plan. If you do not know how to plan, it is time to learn.

• Leaders are people who love to learn and stay current. Most true leaders I have met have impressed me with their breadth of knowledge. Most of them have had significant knowledge in at least one area but more importantly, they have been people with vast general knowledge. True leaders treat everyone they meet as a potential teacher. Leaders are always open to new ideas and methods. If you wish to be a leader, broaden the scope of your knowledge.

• Leaders are people who are patient and understand the importance of timing. Leaders know that the lines of Ecclesiastes, which say, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” are very true. No matter how good a plan is, the timing of its implementation will have much to do with its success. If you wish to be a leader, you must cultivate the virtue of patience and you must sharpen your sense of timing.

I don’t think you will ever see an ad in the paper that says: Wanted—Leader to take control, no experience necessary. If you want to lead, now is the time to start getting that experience. Keep in mind the three options we all have. We can lead, follow or get out of the way. To paraphrase an old United States recruiting poster: The World needs you!

Hodges Hosts
Television Program

 Bill Hodges also hosts an interview-format television program, East Shore Today, which airs Mondays at 8 p.m., channel 20, Bright House cable and channel 30 Verizon cable. His guest for ßJuly 2 is State Representative Rich Glorioso, Florida House District 62. Rep. Glorioso has been deeply involved in the efforts to revamp the property tax system. He will share his thoughts on that subject, along with other developments in the state legislature.
Patricia Suarez, who is vice president of development for the West Central Florida Area Agency on Aging will appear on June 25. Viewers will have an opportunity to hear about the wide array of services available to our aging population.

© Copyright 2006 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing