Greatness and leadership?

Published: April 10th, 2008

By: Serena CassidyAt a recent meeting I attended the topic of greatness and leadership came up. We were discussing how effective leaders inspire greatness in others, often through encouraging creativity and thinking outside the box. The question arises though, just how is greatness defined?Does greatness in one endeavour transfer to greatness in all things? Have we as a culture or as individuals' defined greatness? In light of the ongoing leadership debate in the United States, greatness is a point that shouldn't be overlooked.We've heard that everything from military experience, to foreign affairs and inspiring change leads to the qualities that make a great leader. However, when I think of great leaders there's something intangible about them that somehow translates into this elusive 'greatness'. Often passion, commitment and integrity are characteristics that come to mind.Also, great leaders are not afraid to take risks and to challenge the status quo. While these qualities are standard for business, they are not so amenable to the public service, where risks equal chances to jeopardize taxpayer dollars.So what have I learned over the past year working as a new public servant? I've learned that public servants often demonstrate greatness by their drive, passion and commitment to the work that they do to serve the public good.No organization is perfect, but within the provincial public service there is a growing trend to foster leadership development, and promote a healthy workplace. When organizations foster leadership and growth among their staff, the net benefits go beyond the organization and spill over into our communities as a whole.I am confident that my leadership journey has by no means ended; in fact it has just begun. I look forward to the opportunities ahead, and hope to learn from both the success and the failures in order to develop leadership ability.

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