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LEADERSHIP: The Basis for Management

By William P. Fisher Ph.D.

The concept and practice of leadership as it applies to management carries a fascination and attraction for most people.  We all like to think we have some leadership qualities and strive to develop them. We look at leaders in all walks of life seeking to identify which qualities, traits and skills they possess so we can emulate them.  A fundamental question remains "What is the essence of leadership that results in successful management, as opposed to failed management?"  At least part of the answer can be found within the word itself.

1. Loyalty.  Leadership starts with a loyalty quadrant: loyalty to one's organization and its mission; loyalty to organizational superiors; loyalty to subordinates and loyalty to oneself.  Loyalty is multi-directional, running upwards and downwards in the organization.  When everyone practices it, "loyalty bonds" occur which drive high morale. Loyalty to oneself is based on maintaining a sound body, mind and spirit so one is always "riding the top of the wave" in service to others.

2. Excellence.  Leaders know that excellence is a value, not an object.  They strive for both excellence and success.  Excellence is the measurement you make of yourself in assessing what you do and how well you do it.  Success is an external perception that others have of you.

3. Assertiveness.  Leaders possess a mental and physical intensity that causes them to seek control, take command, assume the mantle of responsibility and focus on the objective(s).  Leaders do not evidence self-doubt as they are comfortable within themselves that what they are doing is right which, in turn, gives them the courage to take action.

4.  Dedication.  Leaders are dedicated in mind, body and spirit to their organization and to achievement. They are action-oriented, not passive, and prefer purposeful activity to the status quo.  They possess an aura or charisma that sets them apart from others with whom they interact, always working in the best interests of their organization.

5.  Enthusiasm.  Leaders are their own best cheerleaders on behalf of their organization and their people. They exude enthusiasm and instill it in others to the point of contagion. Their style may be one of poise, stability, clear vision and articulate speech, but their bristling enthusiasm underscores their every waking moment.

6.  Risk management.  Leaders realize that risk taking is part of their management perch. They manage risk rather than letting it manage them, knowing full well there are no guaranteed outcomes, no foregone conclusions, no pre-ordained results when one is dealing with the future.  Nonetheless, they measure risk, adapt to it, control it and surmount it.

7.  Strength.  Leaders possess an inner fiber of stamina, fortitude and vibrancy that gives them a mental toughness, causing them to withstand interruption, crises and unforeseen circumstances that would slow down or immobilize most people. Leaders become all the more energized in the face of surprises.

8.  Honor.  Leaders understand they will leave a legacy, be it good, bad or indifferent. True leaders recognize that all their relationships and actions are based on the highest standards of honor and integrity.  They do the right things correctly, shun short-term improper expediency and set the example for others with high-mindedness, professional bearing and unassailable character.

9.  Inspiration.  Leaders don't exist without followers.  People will follow leaders who inspire them to reach beyond the normal and ordinary to new levels of accomplishment, new heights of well-being and new platforms for individual, organizational and societal good.  Inspiration is what distinguishes a leader from a mere position holder, as the leader can touch the heart, mind and soul of others.

10. Performance.  At the end of the day, leader/managers rise or fall on the most critical of all measurements — their performance.  Results come first, but the way in which results are achieved is also crucial to sustaining a leader's role.  Many "dictators" don't last despite results and many "charismatics" don't last despite personal charm.

Putting the ten elements together spell LEADERSHIP!  Always remember, if you want to develop a leadership quality act as though you already possess it!


William P. Fisher, Ph.D., a member of Cayuga Hospitality Advisors, is the Darden Chair in the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.  A former CEO of the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association he is the recipient of numerous awards including the CHRIE Educator of the Year and the Michael E. Hurst Award for Educational Excellence, and is a Diplomat of the National Restaurant Association's Educational Foundation.  An author and noted speaker, he serves on corporate boards in concert with his consulting assignments.   A former U.S. Air Force Officer, he is a graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. He is also a member of Cayuga’s Food and Beverage Advisory Services Group.

Reprinted with permission from Cayuga Hospitality Review. All rights reserved.


Cayuga Hospitality Advisors




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