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Defining Leadership

James Baty, CFA Executive Director,

Here is the problem with being seen as a leader: leaders continue to give a lot of time, energy and often money as a way of contributing to the larger goal or to honor the position they have attained. This is increasingly hard on the organization and the individual as it regularly conflicts with the mission and vision of the company, whose work positioned the person to be seen or considered a leader. And yet, leadership is one of the most exciting, driving and beneficial opportunities that anyone can achieve.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines leadership in three ways. I often find it important to visit the dictionary when considering such terms, as life tends to place blinders on us, preventing us from taking in the fullness of our own definitions. In this resource, a leader is defined as “something that leads; a person who leads;” or, “a horse placed in advance of the other horses of a team” ( I would like to work backwards through these global definitions.

A horse placed in advance of a team. While there are always rogue or shooting stars, most hard-working persons recognize that “many hands make light work,” as my mother would say. While one is placed at the front, it is the concerted direction of all that makes for completion of the task at hand. A leader sets the pace and defines the direction in a way that makes it possible for the entire team to contribute.

A person who leads. We are confident because we are made to appear confident. We are naturally inclined to follow and to be organized into a cohesive effort. You want to get a task done, select the right individual to lead and allow them to organize those around them—inspiration combined with perspiration. I see that played out today with your association president and within our member companies, be it the CEO to the company, the division manager to the divisions or the crew leader to the forming crew.

Something that leads implies an object or a device (the dictionary offers a short length of stronger material between fishing line and the hook). In some ways, a tool, a device that serves the purpose of making sure energy and direction accomplish the task. Without the leader, the hook is severed and cannot deliver. Without the leader, the target cannot be attained accurately and efficiently. Without the leader, the door is left open with nothing coming in.

What are you struggling with in your company? If you are not taking the time to define it and label it, chances are you are not challenging your company enough. Without challenge, there is no inspiration, and perspiration is just energy wasted. Come to Concrete Foundations Convention 2017 in Nashville and become labeled as a leader in more ways than one.

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us