Leadership: It’s not just for breakfast anymore

Dr. Brian Murphy completed his fall semester seminar series this semester by examining the nature of leadership.

Murphy began with several minutes of audience brainstorming on the qualities of a good leader. After accumulating the list, he introduced the idea that there is a difference between leaders and managers. He described managers as those who make sure people do what they are supposed to, organize people, and make sure deadlines are met. Leaders, on the other hand, are people who convince others to follow them through persuasion and charisma.

Murphy then went back through the brainstorming list and had the audience separate the managerial qualities from the leadership qualities. He explained leadership consists of four main elements – direction, integrity, consistency, and connection. He explained that leaders must have a clear direction and must make sure that their followers understand and are pursuing the same goal, lest they inadvertently interfere with the leader’s goals.

His second point was that a leaders need to have integrity, because “even people of poor integrity don’t want to follow someone of poor integrity.” Murphy said that leaders must be trustworthy for people to follow their vision.
Third, he mentioned leaders must be consistent, so that those follow them can predict what the leaders are going to do and also determine whether the leaders remain true to their ideals.

Fourth, Murphy said that leaders must have a connection with their followers. Leaders without connection seem impersonal and can lose touch with what their followers want and therefore lose their ability to persuade and guide.

Murphy concluded his talk by giving a bit of advice on how to become a better leader. He recommended that those who want to improve their leadership dedicate time to deciding on the three core values for their lives. Future leaders should then consider what their world would look like if those values were “fully present” in their lives. Finally, Murphy said that aspiring leaders should live as though their values have already been realized, and watch as their leadership improves.

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