I went to a one hour leadership seminar today, that was put on by the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. The presenter, Bart Murphy of Ahern, Murphy & Associates, at some point asked people to yell out qualities they believed would be ideal in quality leaders. The crowd yelled out words like courage, risk taker, honesty, caring, etc. He then made the point that none of the words, which numbered around 20 by the time he was finished, were on any job application or job description he'd ever seen, and bet that none of us had ever seen them either.

I found it interesting because I hadn't thought about the connection between what we perceive of as leaders and what is usually asked for when someone needs to hire managers. Yesterday, I talked about this evaluation program I have, yet, I can honestly say few of the qualifications that folks came up with today are in there.

That's because, unless you know someone fairly well, or get caught having to trust someone to take the lead in a crisis, there really isn't any way to evaluate someone on what Mr. Murphy termed a "verb" qualities, those being actions that people perceive as positives in ideal leaders, beforehand. If you were interviewing someone, how would you evaluate their courage or honesty; give them a test?

Luckily, when a business needs a manager, you don't usually need someone with courage. But you would certainly want someone who has compassion when it's needed. You want someone who knows how to listen. You want someone who knows how to empower others, and trust others, and, at the same time, can earn the trust of others to believe in them.

Leaders don't have to be managers, but good managers have to be leaders.