My Perspective

Posted on June 12th, 2012 in Perspectives on Leadership by John Jensen


As promised here are my thoughts on the quotes we provided on Friday last week.  If you have not done so already, go to last Friday’s post and share your thoughts on these quotes.


“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”

 John Buchan

I think this quote by John Buchan is pivotal. When looking at the human output of ethical leadership.  It connects to the idea of servant leadership in the sense that as leaders we must help bring the greatness out of people, not necessarily to make someone great, but to make them realize that they already are and can learn more.


“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” 

Harold R. McAlindon

I think that this quote relates most to my philosophy on leadership.  Leaders must be innovators and look at issues/problems with sincerity in making the destination possible for others.  If someone is not willing to make their own path, they cannot be truly seen as a leader. Forging a new path doesn’t take knowledge  most times but always requires courage.


“Leadership is a series of behaviors, rather than a role for heroes.”  Margaret Wheatley

This quote is extremely true.  Too often we believe that leaders are people like George Washington.  A leader is not necessarily someone who is immortal in history, but they are always people that embrace a  way of being and a way of acting.


“Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” 

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower’s thoughts on leadership are a bit more traditional and typical than some of the other quotes here.  I think Eisenhower’s quote applies more to someone who is actually in a leadership position rather than just serving as a leader.  People in positions like Eisenhower need to be able to convince others the value in what needs to be accomplished and that they are needed to accomplish them.


 “ A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of contentious.”  Martin Luther King, Jr

I love this quote from Dr. King.  A leader should never be looking to empower what the status quo is.  An example would be in the political world – A leader should never be looking at polling numbers.  A true leader is someone who looks at a problem and thinks of the best way to fix it, regardless of what others think AND can help them see that consensus is the best.


“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.”

 Albert Schweitzer

Setting an example for others is the only concrete way to not only model for others but inspire them as well.  Have you ever read the phrase “What you do, speaks so loudly I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”


“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” 

John Quincy Adams

At the end of the day, being a leader should never be something we do for ourselves or to be “right”.  We should be looking to help inspire others to be successful, to dream big, and find their ways to lead.  Leadership is about service to others and in serving others you will serve yourself.


Until next time,

John Jensen

“Never give in! Never give in! Never, never, never, never — in nothing great or small, large or petty. Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” -Winston Churchill

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