Leadership Spotlight

Inspirational Leaders Suspend Their Ego 

Leadership is not about a person’s ego. It is about recognizing what your constituents need and placing yourself in a position with the right mind set to meet those needs. Individuals who put the interests and agendas of others before their own may become leaders through their selfless actions. Leadership occurs everywhere and at all levels. Great leaders do not necessarily seek an official title; rather, their genuine and sincere concern inspires people to follow.

There are leaders I admire who have challenged me to consistently put forth my best effort. They make my career, welfare, and concerns more important than theirs. Amazingly, some of the finest leaders I have encountered had no idea about the profound impact their leadership and inspiration imparted. Effective leaders influence others to willingly push beyond what they find comfortable. Inspirational leadership is built upon ego suspension and appreciation of the needs of others, not an official title or position. So, leadership sometimes exists in the most unlikely places.

Many law enforcement organizations have collateral programs staffed with truly outstanding and dedicated individuals. I and many of my colleagues have benefited from a first-rate leader who manages a program that serves over 1,100 employees. He not only processes thousands of financial requests a year but also cultivates relationships with these 1,100 employees, as well as the partnerships with over 250 institutions of higher education.

This influential leader’s responsibilities far surpass his pay grade, yet he has inspired so many to reach beyond their comfort zone. Whenever I call him with a conflict or concern, he makes me feel I am his only focus. He is never too busy to discuss the problem. Without a doubt, you can feel his customer-oriented enthusiasm. He answers questions via e-mail on weekends and stays late into the evenings facilitating the program.

I have revamped my approach to handling my programmatic responsibilities—with a smile on my face—because of the example he has set. Although he is not as high in title and grade as many of those he serves, he consistently leads and inspires through his ability to place others’ needs above his own ego.

Special Agent Robin K. Dreeke, an instructor at the Counterintelligence Training Center and an adjunct faculty member of the Leadership Development Institute, prepared this Leadership Spotlight.