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What is your idea of a good leader? What makes a good leader and can you

be one?

Everyone is a leader – if by nothing else but their example. We all influence

the people around us. But what makes up an outstanding positive leader in

your eyes? The Wyoming Black Hills Leadership Institute will be graduating

their third class next week and we asked them to prepare their leadership

philosophy after spending nine months of training in various aspects of

community leadership development. Here are their philosophies, with some

slight editing for clarity and confidentiality. How would your leadership

philosophy compare to these developed by our leadership Associates?

• As I enter the twilight of my career, I realize the need to still be involved and interested

in the trends and philosophy of [my] industry. I realize that I need to stay engaged and to

try to “shape my future” where I can as I go about my day-to-day business and set goals

for the future.

It is important that when following goals and plans, that I stay disciplined enough to

manage the change in my office and maintain the "technical know-how" to still execute

our plans.

As a long-time employee, it is important to encourage younger co-workers or others in

the organization to stay involved and ensure that all the employees have the training and

incentives to carry on the goals of the business and of the organization.

In essence, as we saw in reading The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, it is important to

build the next generation in all phases of your work and other aspects of your life.

It is important that I don't get complacent and that I continue to “Invest in Myself” by

participation in the Black Hills Leadership Institute and other challenges as they come.

And finally I need to take the time to keep myself in both physical and emotional shape

to continue to take on new responsibilities as they come along and help others where I


• What I feel it takes to be a good leader is knowing that no one is perfect and being able to

laugh at ourselves. Taking responsibility for our actions is the key to great leadership.

Our experiences are what create and mold us as leaders; so never let mistakes stop you

from your dream.

• I like the quote that Leroy Eims said, “a leader is one who sees more than others see.

Who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do.”
• Thoughtful leaders have developed a theoretical basis for their approach to management

and apply it every day. It is based on their experiences, beliefs, instincts, and educational


• I believe a leader not only sets the example, but lives by it. A leader is one who cares and

trusts the ones he leads. A leader takes full responsibility in difficult times, and shares the

spoils of good times. Above all, a leader is honest, trustworthy, and vigilant.

• A good leader is someone who is an excellent communicator. One who is willing to

constantly learn and be willing to accept advice from those who may know more on the

subject. A leader must have the respect of the community and have similar ethical values

of those working around them.

• Leadership is an intricate blend of character, integrity, ambition, vision and motivation.

When these qualities combine, great things happen – goals are achieved, obstacles are

overcome and dreams are realized.

John Maxwell, in his book titled The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, states

that your effectiveness can never be greater than your degree of leadership.

In other words, if your leadership rates an 8, then your effectiveness can

never be greater than a 7. If your leadership is only a 4, your effectiveness

will never rise above a 3.

Think about what you can do to better your leadership skills. Every group

and community needs leaders and that is especially true in small

communities like ours. If you are interested in finding our more about the

Wyoming Black Hills Leadership Institute, give me a call.

The United States Department of Agriculture, the University of Wyoming, and Weston
County Extension cooperate.