Letter to the editor: Where have all the leaders gone?

As we look around at today’s landscape it is easy to question “where have all the leaders gone?”

Effective leadership seems to be absent on every front and it appears that things are not about to get better any time soon.

When I speak of leadership I have a very simple definition: It is the “influence of others.” A very simple definition, which most folks don’t seem to realize.

In essence, we are all leaders in some way, shape or form, whether we are:

•  husbands or wives

•  fathers on mothers

•  housewives or househusbands

Whether we are:

•  farmers or farmworkers

•  student, teacher or principal

•  factory worker or factory manager

•  bank teller of bank vice-president

•  patient, nurse or doctor

•  citizen voter or politician

•  church member or minister

We are all leaders because we influence those around us — either positively or negatively. Most of us don’t realize that we actually occupy such an important or influential position in our relationships with others. Nor do we actually think about how we as leaders can positively influence the thought, words and deeds of others.

The very basic skills for effective leadership include the ability to build and maintain effective relationships with others. This skill is imperative for any individual to master in order to be fully successful in life.

As we look at today’s social environment it is abundantly evident that not enough folks actually try to create effective relationships. We selfishly push our own agenda without proper regard and consideration of those around us.

The keys to any effective relationship are respecting viewpoints and beliefs of others and the ability to communicate respectfully with others.

This doesn’t mean that we have to agree with the other person’s viewpoints or beliefs, but we must respectfully seek to understand their point of view.

Unfortunately it appears that folks believe that the one who shouts the loudest is right. Or the one who can belittle the other is right.

We don’t actively think about how our thought, words, deeds and behavior impact those with whom we live, work, worship, golf, attend meetings or just communicate in general.

Each of us must understand this leadership role and deliberately reflect on our current leadership’s impact and how we actually would like to influence others.

We have a responsibility to those around us to continuously improve our own leadership knowledge, style and ability.

Richard Tanhauser


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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