LEADERSHIP: Why it matters

At some point we’ve all encountered a Leader who truly inspired us. A Leader who compelled us to look at the world, our careers, or our lives from a different perspective. Maybe you thought you had it all figured out. Maybe you were just content to stay in your lane, playing small and staying under the radar. But then the leader entered your life. Suddenly, not only were you forced to rethink your immediate actions, but your long term trajectory was altered as well.


I’m embarrassed to admit, that I was once in the, “I have it all figured out” column. I was in my first job out of school and was exceeding all expectations according to my immediate manager. In fact, he had such confidence in me that he asked me to fill in for a colleague who was on vacation. Of course, I felt I was “killing it” in my current role and that it was beneath me to take on a lesser role, even temporarily. I didn’t share my feelings with anyone, but secretly I was fuming about this temporary distraction from more meaningful work.


One day my manager’s boss, whom I barely knew, stopped by on his way through the department. We exchanged pleasantries for just a few moments before he continued on his path. On his way out he turned and said, “Do you know the difference between a good employee and a great one?” Before I could muster a response he said, “The good employee does a good job when he likes what he’s doing; the great one does a good job even when he doesn’t.”


It may not seem like much, but it had a profound effect on how I addressed my temporary role at the time, and each job ever since. Here are 4 key reasons why Leadership matters:


  1. Leaders notice the things that matter. In my case, this guy somehow picked up on the fact that I wasn’t exactly thrilled with my temporary role. He not only noticed, but felt compelled to do something about it. While I had no intention of “half-assing” the job, I likely produced better results as a result of his intervention.


  1. Leaders inspire others. His mission wasn’t to convince me to do a better job or to convince me to like what I was doing. He did however, motivate me to stop torturing myself about the task. Additionally, he equipped me with the appropriate perspective to get through this task and every other task yet to come.


  1. Leaders set the bar higher. With just a few choice words, he motivated me to do a better job than I likely would have, if left to my own devices. More importantly, he instilled in me a work ethic that would serve me for many years to come.


  1. Leaders cultivate other Leaders. This guy didn’t go out of his way to recruit me into the ranks of Leadership, but he did set an example to be emulated. Perhaps unwittingly, he cast a spotlight on a path I hadn’t even considered. Maybe he saw something in me, maybe he didn’t. What I do know, is he inspired me to look deep within myself at who I was and who I was yet to become.



When you’re in a position of authority, it’s important to remember that you have the ability to influence people’s mindsets, careers, and lives. A good leader can make difficult work bearable, make a bad day better, and inspire epic achievement. This ability to influence is a privilege, use it wisely.


“Simple acts of humanity can be the catalyst that inspires others to greatness.”


Do you agree? Let me know about a great Leader who inspired you.

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