What Makes a Great Leader?

Alpha Kappa Buffalo installation

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision.”
    -Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh

You’ve heard about Delta Sigma Pi’s commitment to nurturing leadership skills in our members, but what do we mean by the term? What is our vision? What does leadership look like in a Delta Sigma Pi member? As an organization, we value principled, ethical leadership, and strive to integrate leadership skills with the values and mission we hold true. Practically speaking, we’ve found Stephen Covey’s leadership framework both helpful and inspiring for our Delta Sigma Pi leadership vision. A paraphrase of Covey’s thoughts follows:

Inspire to Trust. You build relationships of trust through both your character and competence, and you also extend trust to others. You show others that you believe in their capacity to live up to certain expectations, to deliver on promises, and to achieve clarity on key goals. You don’t inspire trust by micromanaging and second-guessing every step people make.

Clarify Purpose. Great leaders involve their people in the communication process to create the goals to be achieved. If people are involved in the process, they psychologically own it, and you create a situation where people are on the same page about what is really important – mission, vision, values, and goals.

Align Systems. Don’t allow there to be conflict between what you say is important and what you measure. Many times, organizations claim that people are important but in fact the structures and systems, including accounting, make them an expense or cost center rather than an asset and the most significant resource.

Unleash Talent. The fruit of the above three principles is talent unleashed. When you inspire trust and share a common purpose with aligned systems, you empower people. Their talent is unleashed so that their capacity, their intelligence, their creativity, and their resourcefulness are maximized.