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Leadership As Emotional Commitment

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This resource is an excerpt from PCA Founder Jim Thompson’s book, Developing Better Athletes, Better People.

I know many effective leaders who don’t consider themselves leaders at all, partly because we tend to think there is a leadership mold: a leader looks and behaves a certain way. In our society this often means a tall, good-looking, white male who is articulate and charismatic. The thinking is that if you don’t fit the mold, you really can’t be a leader.

But leadership is simply the release of energy to get work done. One’s height, skin color, gender and attractiveness are usually irrelevant to actually getting important work done. The real currency of an effective leader is Emotional Commitment to achieving a vision.

Eugene J. Webb, author of Unobtrusive Measures and a mentor of mine at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, used to say, “You can smell emotional commitment a mile away.” Your emotional commitment draws the commitment of others. If you have emotional commitment to achieving a goal, and you get people to help you do it, you are a leader. It’s that simple.

Leadership is a team sport. Although the solitary leader is a staple in our society’s mythology, great organizations usually have a strong leadership team. There are few things of importance that a lone individual can do alone. You have to put together a leadership team that shares your emotional commitment to developing Better Athletes, Better People to give yourself the best chance to succeed.

For more on Leadership as Emotional Commitment, see the PDF below.

This PDF was excerpted from Jim Thompson’s book Developing Better Athletes, Better People. To purchase the entire book, and to learn more about other PCA books, click here.

These books are used in PCA’s live workshops. To learn more about our interactive leader workshops, click here.

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