Anne L. Laguzza, M.A., The Works Consulting

There are many contradictions about what leadership is and the qualities needed to be an effective leader. From below looking up, leadership appears to be a form of dictatorship.

One person presides over a larger group of people. That group must follow the directions of the leader or suffer the consequences.

True, healthy leadership doesn’t align with this structure. Instead, the framework for healthy leadership embodies three high-value qualities.

Leadership Defined:

The position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group.

Notice how this definition does not say who is in charge nor does it mention title or rank. It does not mention serving authority, most skilled, loudest, tenured, or aggressive person. It only says the person who guides or directs the group.

This is great news because it means that a leader may present themselves anywhere in an organization. It also means that what matters most is the guidance a person provides not the title or pay grade they hold.

So what are the three high-value qualities embodied by someone skilled at guiding and directing others? How can you embrace them to level up your leadership ability?

High-value #1: Commitment.

With commitment, an individual knows that regardless of how they feel they will do what needs to get done. No matter what.

For example, think about a time when you committed to something significant and you didn’t want to let anyone down. You found reserves of energy, creativity, and resiliency you may not have known you had to fulfill your commitment.

High-value #2: Courage.

Courage because there will be conflicts that need immediate resolution. Conflict is inevitable and can be a healthy part of team development. Only a strong leader will face them head on to seek resolution.

Someone lacking courage will more often than not find a way to delegate, delay or defer. That of course is not leadership at all, even though it may occur more often than it should.

High-value #3: Discipline.

In today’s world discipline has become somewhat of a profane word. What comes to mind when hearing the word is either a drill sergeant or a parent disciplining a child.

While both examples make sense, the discipline of leadership is not punishment focused. Discipline is simple, do what is right not what is easy.

Discipline glues commitment to courage, for the purpose of attaining a meaningful end goal. This combination eliminates excuses and justifications leaving only the example of how to lead.

Commitment, courage, and discipline are also the high-value qualities that separate great from good. These powerful qualities take someone with mediocre skills and give them the ability to influence, guide, and achieve.

These high-value qualities are a powerful contradiction to what so many think leadership is. From those doing the ordering to those who accept those orders. Contrary to how it looks from the outside, leadership is not the many holding up the presiding few.

Leadership is the few who step up to uplift those they guide.

It is those who commit not quit. Who show courage not cowardice. Who choose discipline over comfort. Those are the ones showing the high-value qualities demanded of leadership now more than ever.

Anne Laguzza is the President of The Works Consulting. As a seasoned business executive with human resources management, leadership development, and performance coaching experience, Anne works with clients from a variety of industries to develop better systems, maximize employee productivity, and enable management to focus on business growth.

Prior to founding The Works Consulting in 2001, Anne served as the Regional Human Resources Director for a Fortune 500 distribution company where she led a merger transition team and was responsible for strategic planning, implementing new policies and procedures, workforce restructuring, compensation structures, and integrating the work cultures for over 600 employees.

In addition, Anne was formerly the Human Resources and Training Director for a start-up entertainment company where she organized and implemented a company-wide change management program that involved new company direction and strategic planning. Prior to her work in the entertainment industry, Anne served as the Regional Training Manager for a nationwide retailer where she developed and launched a multi-state training program for human resources managers as part of a corporate expansion project.

Anne earned her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management from Antioch University, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside. She is an active member of the Society of Human Resources Management, and is a board member for Harbor Interfaith Services and an advisory board member for Arthritis National Research Foundation. Anne has taught human resources and management courses at Long Beach City College and California State University, Dominguez Hills, and volunteers at non-profit organizations teaching interviewing skills to adults seeking re-entry into the workforce.