I had a chance to attend the President’s Leadership Symposium (PLS) a few weeks ago in Alexandria, VA. The presidents-elect from all of our chapters convened for three days of intense training on a variety of topics including leadership.
The PLS Class develops a unique bond that will carry them through the ups and downs of their chapter leadership year. They learn from each other and that in itself will be a great resource for every president-elect and ultimately our members.
This year’s class named itself, “Masters of All Domains.” I know, a certain “Seinfeld” episode comes to mind, and we all had a chuckle about that. But seriously, leaders are expected to be masters of all domains. That’s what makes it so doggone tough.
More emphasis should be placed on a leader’s ability to listen…It takes a lot of courage to be a leader.
Leaders are always subject to more criticism than are followers. To be a leader, one needs to be an effective listener, develop strong empathy skills, and learn to allow your intuition to come forward. A leader also needs to clearly understand that he or she does not have the answers—a leader cannot and should not try to solve the world’s problems in a vacuum.
Effective leaders develop the best questions, which in turn help others develop the best solutions. The most effective leaders have an ability to inspire people then get out of their way.
One of the fallacies of modern society is that we are taught that talking or advocating our position is leadership. While the ability to voice an opinion or to be heard is part of it, too much emphasis is placed on a leader’s voice. More emphasis should be placed on a leader’s ability to listen to understand the issue or situation clearly enough to formulate questions that will lead to the best answers.
Great leadership is something that too often is talked about and rarely modeled in our organizations. The best way to teach leadership is to demonstrate it through daily behaviors.
Another misconception about leadership is that it is an identity.
Leadership is an activity.
The mere fact that someone owns a company or is placed in a position of authority does not make him a leader. Leadership can be found at all levels and places within our organizations. The best leaders recognize this and create an environment where other, less authoritative leaders can flourish.
In closing, please join me in appreciation for our next round of chapter leaders. And if you’re a president-elect who’s reading this, just remember there are many who have come before you who will be glad to help. As chapter president, your job is important, but volunteer leadership is supposed to be fun. So, let’s keep it that way.
SMPS President Craig Galati, AIA, FSMPS, CPSM, is principal of LGA, in Las Vegas, NV. He can be reached at 702.263.7111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.