Successful Leaders: What is the one thing a leader must do?

What is the one thing a leader must do? There are all kinds of opinions on what leaders must do.  But what is there is one thing that all successful leaders have in common.

Leadership Gold by John C. Maxwell

Successful Leaders: What is the one thing a leader must do?

There are countless articles on leadership. These articles seem to miss one critical point.  This point is on the things that leaders do.

Many articles define leadership.  These articles ask the question between a leader and a manager.  The answer to that question seems simple.  Leadership is a trait.  Management is a job function.  Manager is a job title.  However, some leaders who have no title at all inspire people to follow.

Common Views on What Leaders Do

Some leaders are inspirational teachers.  Other leaders are practical teachers.  There are leaders who micromanage.  Some leaders delegate.  They leave all the decisions on how to do things to the people who are doing them.

Each one of these practices is important.  But none of them is essential to the one thing that makes leaders successful.

Successful Leaders State the Mission

A successful leader states the mission.

Build the bridge.  Create the product.  Design the ship.  Write the plan.  Seize the city.    Whatever mission a group has, someone first must state the mission.  Making that statement is the job of the leader.

From the mission statement, all the work can follow.  How to build the bridge, create the product, design the ship, and seize the city all follow the mission statement.

If teams do not know the mission, how can they become successful at accomplishing the mission?


Some people wonder at the incredible power of the teachings of Christ.  No matter what your feelings about religion, the spread of Christ’s teachings is one of the most influential events in the history of the world.

How did this event happen?  Through missionaries, that is, people charged with fulfilling the mission.  The Book of Acts has instructions from Christ to go out to nations across the world and teach people what he had said.

The Leaders of the American Revolution

The foundation of the United States began with a mission statement.

June 11, 1776, the attendees of the Second Continental Congress appointed five people to write the mission statement for the birth of a new nation.  Thomas Jefferson authored the document.  When finished, the Second Continental approved the mission statement titled it “The Declaration of Independence.” 

Successful Leaders: Know Your Role

In a leadership role, you may have many responsibilities.  Remember that your most important responsibility is to state the mission.