It’s hard to define good leadership, but we all know it when we see it in action. Leaders we truly respect inspire us with their vision and feel trustworthy in both their personal and professional lives. They are smart strategists but also have a balanced sense of themselves – brilliant but not arrogant. And most important, they are able to genuinely connect with, and respect the people they aspire to lead.
In late November John Wilhelm, the highly regarded president of the national hotel workers’ union (UNITE-HERE), stepped down from his position at the age of 67 to make way for a new generation of leaders in his organization. During John’s tenure the union developed a deep bench of committed worker-leaders, organizers and strategists who he helped recruit and nurture over his 43 years with the organization. John populated this bench by sharing information, skills and decision-making with those he developed while expecting the highest standards of effectiveness and hard work.