The Call to Leadership (Act Graciously)

I don’t usually like to speak in absolutes, but I feel safe in saying that absolutely no one likes an arrogant jerk. Yet, I find that many leaders appear to be just that, arrogant jerks. That is because they violate the second aspect of the CALL to leadership, Act Graciously. Instead, they Are Arrogant.

Several years ago I was part of a team that ran a major function for an inspection exercise in the Air Force. Our team rocked! I can say that without feeling arrogant because the inspectors told us our team was the best seen that year. There were a lot of people incredibly excited about the job the team had done. Except for the team. The individual in charge took credit for the entire effort and never acknowledged the work the team put in. Our morale went from an all-time high to an all-time low. So did our respect for the leader. He failed to Act Graciously. He failed as a leader.

I often hear people describe leaders as “the man” or “the woman”. Leaders are not “the man” or “the woman”. By definition a leader requires a team to implement the mission. If you are “the man” or “the woman” and don’t require a team to accomplish the mission you’re not a leader. You’re a very talented individual but if you’re doing it alone you’re not leading you’re just doing.

If you are leading you must Act Graciously or you will no longer be leading but merely doing. I once heard a leader say to his team, “As the leader, everything this team does right I get 50% of the credit. Everything this team does wrong I get 100% of the blame.” He knew how to Act Graciously.

What ways have you seen leaders Act Graciously?