Evaluating Leadership By The Wake It Leaves

Dr. Henry Cloud was recently asked about success and how to achieve it.

Although there is much room for definition of the word, Cloud noted that you need to be competent at something. Go out and learn a skill at something. Then there is the ability for forge and maintain relationships. Building a network of people you can call on.

And he talked about character. He mentioned the Hebrew word translated as virtue in the Bible has the connotations of force. It is as if a leader is a force in the organization.


It’s like a boat going through a lake. It leaves a wake. There are two sides to the wake as it fans out if the boat is moving correctly.

Just so, a successful person is a force leaving behind results and relationships in its wake.

Think of leaders you’ve known who perhaps show results but leave behind a trail of broken relationships. It is symptomatic of a boat going around in circles. Where lies success?

Sometimes we work on building relationships but have no results. Once again this is an unbalanced situation. The organization will fail. The business will close.  But you’ll all be happy–for a while.

Worse is the situation where results are poor and relationships broken. It’s like a boat “dead in the water.” Success is but a dream.

Show me a person of strong moral character who leaves good results and firm relationships in the wake, and I’ll show you success.

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