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Leadership is Action, Not Position

By Harold "Bud' Boughton

"Leadership is action, not position." --unknown

Regardless of your position in life, at some time, like it or not, you will find yourself in a position of leadership. It may be at work heading up a committee or accepting a new management position, it may be in a church group, in a professional organization or even a social setting. For many of us, it will be in our homes where, as parents, we have a critical leadership role to play.

As the quote says, leadership is not about "position", or for that matter, title. It is about action. It is about who we are and our actions, our deeds, how we treat others, how we make decisions, how we listen to others, how we accept responsibility for our actions and hold ourselves accountable; this is who we really are. As leaders, we must realize that every action is a reflection of our character, our integrity and our ability to be noble, caring human beings.

I happen to believe that there is no substitute for responsible leadership that adheres to and honors high moral character and rules of conduct as guiding principles. In recent years, we've seen the sort of train wrecks that can occur when CEO's and people in leadership positions compromise their integrity. Manipulating performance figures and earnings to try and improve stock performance, their inept and corrupt form of leadership led to not only to the failure of their companies but also to a pathetic state of mistrust. Their selfishness and greed led to the general distrust of the American business leader.

Maybe Warren Bennis said it best in his book, Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, when he said, "Managers do things right, Leaders do the right thing." Thus, if leadership is truly action, it is important that it be the "right" action.

In reality, we all have a leadership role to play. In this day an age, each of us must make a conscious choice as to how we are going to lead our lives. How are we going to live? What choices will we make? How will we treat others and will we seek to help those less fortunate than us? You see, leading a life and just living one are two very different things. This coming week, think of yourself as a leader. Take the time to think through your decisions and actions, and most importantly, do the right thing.

Harold "Bud" Boughton is a husband, father, former college athlete, coach and senior executive who currently resides in Greenwood, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis. His opinions and comments have appeared on the pages of FORTUNE magazine, INC. magazine, Sales and Marketing Management and in ETHIX Magazine published by the Institute for Business, Technology & Ethics. He is author of "Dad's Last Letter" - a fictional novel that doubles as a book about leadership principles. In the end, it is a book about fatherly love, hope, leadership principles and the Christian faith.

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