Why Leadership Matters

by  Steve Keating  |  Leadership Development

I’ve often heard it said that the one constant in business is change. While change is certainly always present I think that there is at least one additional constant. This one doesn’t only apply to business, it also applies to life. That constant is this: Leadership Matters. In fact, even before change first took place, around the time that Eve took a bite from the apple, Leadership Mattered.

Leadership has always mattered and it is inconceivable that there will be a time when it doesn’t. Perhaps no one has ever said it better than John Maxwell when he said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Everything!

Leadership matters because no one and nothing comes to success without it. Think about it: virtually every great accomplishment has at its core, solid leadership. When everything is going well it is leadership that keeps people from getting complacent. When things are going poorly it is leadership that rights the ship, it is leadership that sets the new course and it is leadership that provides hope.

One of the greatest things a leader can give their people is hope. People need hope, almost as much as air, food or water. Without hope effort stops and progress stops along with it. Leadership matters most in the absence of hope because experienced, authentic leaders will manufacture hope from despair. Leadership matters because where there is a lack of leadership despair will prosper.

People watch their leaders far more closely than most leaders will ever realize. They do what their leader does long before they do what their leader says. A leader that radiates hope gives permission to their people to hope, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Authentic leaders lead with their deepest self, they care enough about their people to expose their feelings. They lead for their people, not themselves. It is why leadership that matters requires a keen awareness of people. Everyone can be managed the same but authentic leadership means leading each individual on a team or in an organization differently.

The most dangerous people in a company or organization are those in a leadership position that refuse to lead or get out of the way for someone who will. They care more about the “job” than they do about the people who get it done. They hide behind a title never knowing the difference they could make in the life of someone else.

Leadership is about making a difference for other people and when a leader fails, their people fail too. Leadership matters because people matter. It has always been that way and as long as there are people to be lead, it always will be that way.

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Mike Myatt  |  25 Jan 2011  |  Reply

Totally agree wth you Steve…

Whether through malice or naivete, those who trivialize the value of leadership place us all at risk…Poor leadership cripples businesses, ruins economies, destroys families, loses wars, and can bring the demise of nations. The demand for true leaders has never been greater – when society misunderstands the importance of leadership, and when the world inappropriately labels non-leaders as leaders we are all worse for the wear.

Tristan Bishop  |  25 Jan 2011  |  Reply


This post is deeply motivating.

I agree that a leader must begin by imagining what’s achievable. And from this internal vision, the leader must color the imaginations of the team with rich pictures of possibility.

The need for authentic, courageous leadership is as great now as it’s ever been. Thank you for your daily encouragement to bring the best we have to those we serve.


Steve Keating  |  25 Jan 2011  |  Reply

Thanks Tristan, you make a great point, leadership really is about creating possibilities. Too many leaders seem to forget that. Thanks for your comment.

Chad Balthrop  |  25 Jan 2011  |  Reply


Thanks for the post. Your encouragement to offer hope and to serve others well is a great reminder and call to action.

The thing so many people don’t realize is that everyone is leading someone somewhere. Scientists talk about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I can over simply the idea by saying that in quantum physics there is always a certain level of uncertain because they say you can either know where something is or what something is because, at the quantum level the ACT OF MEASURING IT CHANGES IT.

This principle applies to people – every member of the team influences the other members of the team. Your very presence in the group, changes the group. It’s why someone can lead from the middle of the pack, with or without a title. Another great quote from Maxwell, “Leadership is influence.” It leads to a natural question, “Regardless of position or title, where will you ‘lead’ your group today?”

Thanks for the post.

God Bless,

Susan Mazza  |  28 Jan 2011  |  Reply

Thanks for sharing this principle as it applies to leadership Chad – very insightful.

Mike Henry  |  25 Jan 2011  |  Reply

Steve, thanks for another great post. Most of all, I like the simple statement, “Authentic leaders… lead for their people.” The success of the team must be rewarding for the members of the team or success won’t be sustainable.


Connie McKnight  |  26 Jan 2011  |  Reply

Really insightful post. I especially loved your point ‘Authentic leaders lead with their deepest self, they care enough about their people to expose their feelings.” This is so true!

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach  |  26 Jan 2011  |  Reply

Excellent article you’ve written here. I agree with Tristan that it is deeply moving. It helps all to remember that a strong leadership sets the course. There is still a pervasive misunderstanding that strong leadership is inappropriate and always the equivalent of a dictatorship. It isn’t and doesn’t have to be. The result of this misunderstanding has been “leadership by committee”. It is failing in many organizations because it isn’t leadership. It is a vacuum — a void.

Bravo to this post. I will RT on Twitter.
Kate Nasser

Susan Mazza  |  28 Jan 2011  |  Reply

Another great reminder that position/title and leadership are not one and the same thing. As you point out without leadership from someone nothing happens, except perhaps chaos, frustration, resignation, cynicism, etc.

People do watch those in leadership positions closely. It seems to me far too much time (and energy) is spent watching and waiting for someone else to lead though. You don’t have to be THE leader to be A leader. I would like to see more people considering what leadership they can provide regardless of their level precisely because as you so eloquently say: Leadership Matters.

Will  |  23 Aug 2011  |  Reply

Great post with insightful ideas. Leadership is extremely important and never underestimate it. Leaders are constantly undervalued by the general public, and even though their position is difficult, they still lead.

I will definitely tweet this.

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