Peter Drucker famously stated that "management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Great leaders possess dazzling social intelligence, a zest for change, and above all, vision that allows them to set their sights on the "things" that truly merit attention. Leaders see the future, identify opportunities, create the vision, set the course of action, and then motivate and guide their people over the pathway.

Organizations today are facing rapid change, evolving business models, business-altering technology and concepts, significant global competition, escalating regulatory requirements, heavy customer demands and expectations, and a constant flow of new ideas and inventions. In order for organizations in healthcare, industry, service, and government to survive, they need staff who will step up to the plate and lead their own employees, departments, divisions, and/or business groups.

Some people are born with the leadership gene; others have developed skills, expertise, and knowledge that put them into leadership roles; others find themselves in situations forcing them to take the reins; and others are lucky enough to find themselves in an environment that promotes leadership for all. One of the most important tasks of an existing leader is creating a fertile field for the identification, development, and growth of leadership in others. They can ensure that this is in place with two approaches: Example and Environment.

Existing leadership sets the Example for others to mirror. They:

Embody the core values of the organization

Are consistent in thought, word, and deed

Inspire trust from others

Commit to the vision and mission of the organization

Love the work and the challenges of the business, not the title, money, or power

Set the direction

Establish the foundation

Seek out ideas, constructive feedback, and criticisms from others

Are enthusiastic, inspiring, passionate, and energetic

Are humble but secure

Build successful relationships in all directions

Take care of their people

Admit bad decisions and move quickly to regroup

Are able to identify the need for change

Consistently execute both small-and-large-scale changes

Existing leadership creates an Environment for the strengthening of other leaders and the sprouting of new leaders by:

Believing employees are critical to the success of the organization

Ensuring that everyone understands the vision, mission, objectives, and goals of the organization

Ensuring effective communication and the deployment of information throughout the organization

Seeking out, encouraging, and listening to the ideas and suggestions of staff at all levels

Seeking employee input in problem solving, decision-making, objective and goal setting

Creating an environment that allows for risk taking

Viewing conflict as an opportunity for new concepts and compromise

Looking at mistakes as opportunities and learning lessons

Empowering employees to take on challenges and make decisions

Walking around and talking to employees at all levels and all shifts

Providing the training, acknowledgment, and opportunities for employees to develop and use new skills and knowledge

Making employees feel part of the team and important to the future of the organization

This may require a shift in the culture of the organization and require time, training, and funding. However, the return on investment is significant in savings, efficiencies, staff morale, employee retention, competiveness, quality performance, and customer service.

Leadership is about leading - and inspiring others to take on leadership. It is a win-win for all.

This article is part of the monthly series authored by ISM’s Logistics & Transportation Group Board Members, who are current practitioners, consultants, trainers, and educators. In future columns, they will continue sharing their views on a number of Supply Chain topics.

Marilyn Gettinger is owner of New Directions Consulting Group, an organization offering customized workshops and a team-oriented consulting method to assist organizations in being successful in their global supply chains management. She can be reached at, or (908)-709-0656, or,