Leadership is a charism

Leadership is a discrete charism from management. It can exist quite apart from authority. It is more to do with a person’s giftedness (from whence is derived the word “charisma”). It is a charism articulated in special personal qualities which inspire ("stimulating or exalting to the spirit") respect, trust, following, and sometimes enthusiasm. Leadership can also be challenging to the status quo. Most authentic leaders challenge the existing state of affairs.

Whilst leaders are often prophetic, and frequently show the way forward, sometimes leaders and prophets point backwards, and point out that which we have lost sight of, like authentic respect and dignity, honour, duty, a sense of perspective and history.

Emerging trends and markets are important, but also crucial is the interpretation of thousands of years of leadership. Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. The core tenants of leadership also require the wisdom to reflect on it and make it alive...it’s like the two sides of the leadership coin.

Since it depends on the traits of a person, leadership is an enduring endowment, not something assumed for a certain time and laid down at the end of a mandate. It is not conferred or restricted by constitutions, and it cannot be legislated. It derives not from external to the circumstances, but from inner sources, and it is associated much more with what a person is than with what he or she does. Leadership is found in many spheres other than government and business.

Pseudo-leaders pay lip-sevice to history and tradition. Authentic leaders look both backwards; understand the importance of corporate memory and culture; and look forwards, re-interpreting the past in new and inspiring ways.
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