Leadership is as important in everyday life as it is on the battlefield and in politics.

Unfortunately there are precious few discussions on what a real leaders are like and what they do in our communities and local associations. and even fewer opportunities to learn this most important of all skills. Nevertheless every day we're influenced by those who are natural leaders. 

We see these leaders in associations and groups of all kinds including – but not limited to – condominium associations, writers groups, community activities of all sorts.

These leaders are the ones who say "Let's do this." or they simply begin a project with the clear vision that once they succeed, others will follow.

Oak Condominium, a brick and stone 3-story condominium on a double size city lot, was pretty non-discript in 2001. There was nothing of interest about it. The doorway was uninviting. Two trees and expanses of grass cluttered with weeds and dandelions were all that it offered in the way of beautification.

A resident saw beyond the bleak facade. That individual saw potential for for this 21-unit community and planted a single daisy…an experiment to demonstrate what could be possible on a lot that management and others figured was not worth developing..That resident further proposed that the residents restructure the association to be a functioning self-managed body with a strong board of directors. This would enable the association to save the necessary money to find the reserve account and avoid special assessments in the future.

The condominium has come a long way.,,,. The doorway is now inviting, the yard enjoys the beginnings of a landscape that is attractive and the reserve fund is substantial.

The individual who spearheaded this had a lot to be proud of but became financially and emotionally drained. Year after year, this leader struggled to share the vision with others and to inspire them to work together with her. It was much too easy for them to rely on her expertise and drive and enjoy the fruits of her labor. 

Another leader started a writer's group in a suburb of Chicago. Year after year she nurtured the group and it's aspiring members. But she found that  leading became more a matter of pulling members  the along with members taking very little initiative in beyond what they could take out of the group.

Both leaders took a drastic step to shock their members into taking responsibility for their own success. These leaders resigned. The results…the members actually stepped up to the plate and took responsibility for the continued success of the group. Until the leader stepped back, the members had no clue about how things got done or what was needed to succeed.

The condominium association members discovered that each had to actively participate in the management of the condominium. The writers started taking initiative and that volunteer group grew and matured into a more productive organization. Both have continued to grow because a natural leader had a vision, put it into action and then stepped back long enough to let the vision mature.

We often think that we are irreplaceable. Not so. Sometimes, the greatest gift we have is the ability to step back and let our "babies" grow up.
 

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