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April 14, 2013 6:10 pm

What is Leadership?

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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A complete set of the Babylonian Talmud. Photo: Reuvenk.

Over the next few weeks, a slew of different Jewish organizations are hosting dinners honoring leaders of the community. This very publication, The Algemeiner is hosting a ‘Jewish 100’ gala where they will honor the top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life.  At the same venue. a week later, RAJE,  the Russian-American Jewish Experience will host an event honoring people who help Russian Jews become more Jewish.

This week, The UJA-Federation of New York released their 40-under-40 list of the top movers and shakers, and chose participants for their “drive, determination, achievement, character, and ability to lead the community.” Some of the folks who were honored included PR firm owner Matthew Hiltzik, Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm of EMM Group, and a slew of others.

As a parent and an entrepreneur, every day I need to lead, and so do many others, each in their own way.  Here are some inspirational quotes about the power of leadership which are worth sharing:

  • “To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!'” – Lao-tsu
  • “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.” – John Kenneth Galbraith
  • “Act while you can: While you have the chance, the means, and the strength.” – Talmud
  • “One who is wise, humble and fearful of sin may be made a community leader.” – Tosafot
  • “The best is he who calls men to the best. And those who heed the call are also blessed. But worthless who call not, heed not, but rest.”  – Hesiod
  • “My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” – General Montgomery
  • “A person should first put one’s house together, then one’s town, then the world.” – Rabbi Israel Salanter
  • “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Ken Kesey
  • “We do not know the extent of our own power to change and to effect change. But we must act; that is in our power.” – Rabbi Baruch Bokser
  • “Who is wise? One who learns from every person. Who is strong? One who subdues one’s evil inclination. Who is rich? One who is happy with one’s lot. Who is to be honored? One who honors others.” – Pirkei Avot 4:1

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a New York PR firm.

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