REAL Leadership

Mike Henry, Founder of the Lead Change Group and the LeaderPalooza unconference organizer asked the participants of the first LeaderPalooza to share their thoughts about the unique value of the event and the Lead Change Group.  Here are my reflections a few weeks after the event.

In February 2010 I had the privilege to spend two days with 14 extraordinary people who quickly became friends.  The organizing question:  how can we instigate a movement of character-based leadership to make a positive difference?

It seemed incredible to me at first that a group of such clearly accomplished yet diverse individuals were willing to invest 2 days at an event with a very loosely defined agenda and a relatively short lead time for the event.  In fact 2 of the participants had little connection to the group at all.

I think the event itself, that it even happened, is a clear demonstration of the powerful ripple affect one person’s stand can have in moving others to act.  In this case that person is Mike Henry, founder of the Linked In Lead Change Group. And I want to take this opportunity to appreciate Mike for his leadership. His vision, his stand and his commitment made this event happen.

That it turned out to be an incredibly enriching and enjoyable experience for all who participated further demonstrates the power of engaging committed individuals in pursuit of a common purpose.

Leaderpalooza also renewed my belief that “mountains can be moved” when every single person involved in an endeavor takes responsibility for providing personal leadership, leading themselves and being of service to each other and a commitment we share.  The depth of commitment to elevating character as an essential foundation for effective leadership, beginning first with ourselves, was inspiring.  We may use different words to describe what that is or approach it from different perspectives or in different ways, but there was no mistaking that we were aligned from the very start of the event.

While I had many insights from the conversations over the 2 days, one in particular stands out for me:  the meaning of REAL leadership.  I am beginning to believe that when people say they want “real” leadership they are attempting to articulate that what is all too often missing from leadership is character.

When it comes to leadership the letters R-E-A-L have new meaning for me now:  Respectful, Ethical, Accountable and Loving.  And while I don’t think any definition could do justice to the notion of character-based leadership, for me this is a great way to begin the conversation.

What does Character-Based Leadership mean to you?

LeaderPalooza was just a beginning…now is a great time for you to join the conversation!  You can find us on Linked In, Facebook, and on Twitter by searching on #leadchange.

Thank you Mike Henry, Vicki Henry, Chris Zaucha, David Wachs, Deb Costello, Don Shapiro, Erin Schreyer, Fanny Korman, Jane Perdue, Jim Holland, Mark Oakes, Monica Diaz, Sonia DiMaulo and Steve Keating for the gifts of your wisdom, your heart and your commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

If you would like to read other posts written about the LeaderPalooza experience you can start here Lead Change Group.  Links to other participant posts are included.


Enter A Comment

Jane Perdue   |   04 March 2010   |   Reply

Susan – just love your new definition for REAL leadership…spot-on and perfect!

Susan Mazza   |   08 March 2010   |   Reply

Thank you Jane! While I may have been the one to put the words behind the letters I consider this idea an outcome of the incredible “brain trust” of this LeaderPalooza. I am amazed at the knowledge and wisdom there is for us to tap in the Lead Change group in general – what an incredible resource!

Erin Schreyer   |   04 March 2010   |   Reply

As previously stated, you are the MASTER of words, my dear friend!! well done!

Susan Mazza   |   08 March 2010   |   Reply

Thanks my friend!

Justin McCullough   |   07 March 2010   |   Reply

I see character based leadership becoming a critical element as it will be sought after by more and more people thanks to the power of shining a light on those with great character. The tools the internet provides, blogs, vlogs, etc are exposing more diamonds in the rough.

Great perspective on leadership. R.E.A.L resonates with me. For those that have read Linchpin by Seth Godin, you could replace “love” with “linchpin” and immediately it also includes generosity and passion. But I suppose, most leaders with character already embody generosity and passion….

Justin McCullough

Susan Mazza   |   08 March 2010   |   Reply

Thanks Justin for stopping by and joining the conversation. Excellent points. The social media world certainly does change the dynamic of who gets put in the spotlight and I think that is a good thing.

I have not read Linchpin, but it certainly seems to fit. Part of what Love also represented for me was that we are not two people – the person we take to work and person one we leave at home. To use love only in the context of romantic relationships does an injustice to the level of deep authentic emotion and caring people have for each other in every domain of their lives.