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Is Leadership a Privilege?

It has been said that leadership is a privilege, not a position. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Leadership is a privilege. And, it is a privilege that comes with much responsibility because a leader is responsible for the lives of other people. People are the richest resources of any company. Those people also have families who are affected by their work lives. Leading in a way that enriches the lives of others spreads success and happiness to many more people.

A corny but good example (excuse me, but this is the Holiday season) can be seen in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". A leader's influence can spread out like a coin tossed into a lake - going way beyond the point we would usually assume.

So, yes, having that kind of influence is a privilege. Many of us have worked for or with a "bad" leader, and we have seen the professional and personal damage that can cause.


I hope we meet at some point... you and I share very similar leadership philosophies. I like your holiday example as well. A quote I like is "Leadership is a serious meddling in people's life". Robert Greenleaf has also written a great deal about the Servant Leader (more recently, Ken Blanchard has written a book with this title also). He believes that as leaders, we are servants of the people we lead and we hold their development 'in trust'. We are not superior to them or 'over' them. That doesn't mean we are buddies - also a problem. As a leader, we help a person grow (for the needs of the business we are part of) from where they are to where they can and need to be.

Lou Russell

Meeting would be wonderful.

I have been privileged to serve for 20 years at my campus in several capacities (Associate Dean/Adjunct Instructor/Program Director/Career Services Director) and I found teaching and counseling to be the most rewarding. Having the "history" that time provides can make everyone in education a kind of "Mr. Chips", able to see and enjoy the successes of those upon whom we have had an influence. That experience will provide the sense of privilege that many "newbies" haven't had the time to learn and enjoy.

Students and reports...we can make a difference in other's lives.

Bruce -

My email is If you'd like, email me your contact info and I will give you a shout should I wander into your locale.

Lou Russell

Leadership is a privilege. I cannot agree with this statement more. When I think about the great leaders in history we don’t remember their positions but rather their accomplishments and changes in people, regions and even the entire world.


Well put. Leadership is always unique to the people being led, the time, the culture, etc. and shows up many different ways. It's amazing what leaders can do. The privilege comes with responsibility, of course. Leadership is a serious meddling in peoples' lives... which we have to treat ethically and morally.

Lou Russell

It is a privilege position because although every body can get the EI and get enough leadership tool for motivate people, is necessary get some position in the Company or Job to develop the leadership.

Also is a privilege because you have the opportunity to help and management other people in order to get some goals. The privilege that come with the responsibility are inherent to the position that the leader or chief has.


Miguel -

Yes, I agree with what you have written. It is very important that leaders understand how big a responsibility it is to have the power to change people's lives - for better or worse!

Lou Russell

Now that's what I'm talking about. A true leader will always be remembered by what they did for others.

The way I see it... Leadership can be classified as a privilege through the position of being a leader. In other words, anyone can hold the position of leader, but to truly be classified as a leader by your peers is a privilege that's earned through actions.

I've lead various groups of people and been lead by many different "team leaders". I'm nothing short of honored when someone refers to me as a leader, and I've had many leaders that I wouldn't label as anything but a "person with higher ranking".

Great point that leadership is "earned through action" my experience, many leaders are NOT in leadership positions -- they lead by actions, not position.

Leadership is a privilege and a huge responsibility. You can choose to be a good leader or a bad leader. It takes that self awareness to see how your own behavior affects others, and how you can improve by knowing your strenghts and weaknesses.When you keep the attitude that it is a privililedge to lead it keeps you humble, knowing that your decisions and direction affect people's lives.

Leadship is a privelege and most definitely can be learned if you have the key traits needed to begin the learning process.
Leaders have the knowledge needed to pass it on to their team successfully. Leaders get their hands "dirty" because they not only want to lead by example but because that's what they enjoy doing.

Great response. Self awareness is key to understanding how your behavior impacts others, and humility can be incredibly inspiring to the people you lead.


Interesting perspective. Leaders might not always have the level of technical knowledge necessary to pass on to their teams. I agree the willingness to get involved and "get dirty" can often be an effective leadership trait, but knowing when to say "I don't know" is also powerful.

I agree. The privilege is earned by way of exsperience and results. However, there are people who can achieve results but not be leadership candidates. Proactive organizations recognize leaders and motivators and promote them accordingly.

I have to say that I believe Leadership is a privilege because all people to not have the ability to be a leader and those of us who do are very privileged.

I agree and disagree. I agree that Leadership is a privilege in that you set the example for your followers. However, I disagree, in that being a Leader is not a position. I believe that one must possess leadership qualities before you can lead and ultimately be in a leadership position.

So, again, I agee and disagree.

I believe it is a privilege because by leading you impact and possibly change lives. The people you lead believe in you and your vision.

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