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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

Leadership Lexicon: Stacey Abrams

To be effective as a coach, I think few would argue that being a good leader is essential. But what makes a good leader? Finding that answer has been a journey, with plenty of contributions from various sources along the way. My antenna is always up, collecting a nugget here or a clip there to help mold my understanding of what good leadership is.

The title of this blog, Leadership Lexicon, is intended to be a series that will share these bits of wisdom.

Before rising to national prominence last month for her role in turning out voters in the state of Georgia and protecting their rights, Stacey Abrams was on NBA star JJ Redick's podcast back in August. Towards the end of the conversation (1:00:05 mark in the video), Redick asks Abrams to list the ideal qualities of a great leader. Her response had me scrambling for a notebook.

Stacey Abrams' Qualities of a Great Leader:

  1. A willingness to help. "Leaders are there to serve. That's the point. Whether it's serving customers, or serving constituents, or serving clients, your job is service. And so your first responsibility is being able to effectively ask, "How can I help?" and then building the skills to make that so."

  2. Ambition. "If you're satisfied with where you are, that means you're not leading, you're standing. I need someone who's got a plan for us to get somewhere else."

  3. Fallibility. "Leaders who cannot admit mistakes, not only do they lie, they create an environment where other people refuse to make mistakes, or worse, where they refuse to try. And if you aren't willing to try, or worse, when you lie about your failures, you undermine the credibility but you also undermine the creativity."

While individual perceptions of Abrams may be based more on political lean, it's hard to dispute the criteria she seeks in a leader. That's something I think we can all agree on.

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