Who is the leader you look up to the most in today's world?

I'm not sure I can (or should) narrow it down to one leader. I'm drawn toward leaders in whom I recognize an approach that fits a specific aspect of my life. Setting aside the ethereal for a moment, there are a few notable leaders in my life whose attributes have influenced my style.

My father led our family by example and with great compassion. His approach informs my work ethic and empathy toward others.

John Maeda (former President of the Rhode Island School of Design) is a champion of experimentation and a firm believer in continuous learning, an approach I try to emulate with my team at work.

A benchmark for courageous leadership is my cousin, SFC Christopher Montera, who was severely injured in combat while on a mission in Afghanistan. By all accounts Chris is a born leader & his leadership style endeared him to the young soldiers relying on his decisions to keep them safe. But it his approach to life (before and after his injury) that I hold up as a prime example of uncompromising courage.

As you develop your own ethos, it's important to incorporate examples of great leadership in everyday life along with those from outstanding public figures. The last thing you want to do is subscribe to only one leadership philosophy. You could end up overlooking an approach that encourages a member of your team to achieve greatness or deepens the bond between you and your team.

Admirable leadership qualities are woven together as a tapestry of practical experience, careful observation, wins and losses, personal beliefs, and many, many other influences. A hallmark of inefficient leadership would be to deify the teachings of one "guru" and apply them wholesale in your approach to leading others.

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