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By Darryl Stewart

Do you share the qualities of a great leader?

In his phenomenal course on leadership, Linton Sellen points out the difference between the qualities we often associate with good leaders and the qualities that are actually most important. Do you want to be led by the person with these qualities?

  • Charismatic
  • Great communication skills
  • Influential
  • Visionary
  • Intelligent
  • Innovative
  • Proactive
  • Committed
  • Passionate
  • Go-getter
  • Goal setter

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? This above was a list of Hitler’s qualities.  Would we like to be led by Hitler?  Obviously not.

Linton suggests that the list below is a better test of leadership potential and ability:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Trustworthiness
  • Loyalty
  • Unselfishness
  • Care for the well-being of others
  • Compassion
  • Self-discipline
  • Courage
  • Humility
  • Mercifulness
  • Patience

When I look at these two lists, I am sure that I would rather be led by someone who displayed the second set of qualities. In the past I always looked for extremely high ambition and personal performance as an indicator of future leadership potential. I can now see that method was a mistake. Ambition and personal achievement are great but to be a great leader it takes something else. Linton calls it good character.

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Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today. 

This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.