Good leadership, like good style, is hard to define — you know it when you see it. Yet, like style, we are inundated with books and articles, advice and columns about leadership – just this morning I received 8 email pushes on the topic.

In the end, you can only lead those people who want to be led by you.

Seen through that lens, then I have high affinity for Daniel Goleman’s work in Primal Leadership, in which he states that “the fundamental task of leadership is to prime good feeling.”  Good feeling with and among people throughout a wide range of situations and circumstances.Given that every day our offices and emails are filled with individuals who are motivated by different feelings, achievements, work modes, situation, it’s no wonder the topic of leadership is so prolific — great leadership is not easy.

As leaders we need to set the vision for the organization — why are we here? – and define the mission — what is our role in that vision? and repeat ourselves constantly. You cannot under-communicate vision and mission. Then we need to tie each department and each position to the vision and mission, so people understand why they matter.

When people know they matter, that their work and effort is appreciated, it is so much easier to lead. Only in this situation can you effectively maintain a high standard for performance, that becomes the healthy momentum that propels an organization forward. Because without people willing to pull forward for you, we’re all just talking to ourselves.

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