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Meditations on leadership
  1. Amir A Zeki1,2
  1. 1 Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, University of California Davis, Sacramento, California, USA
  2. 2 UC Davis School of Medicine, Lung Center, Davis, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Amir A Zeki, Internal Medicine, Division of PCCM, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA; aazeki{at}

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”Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~ John Wooden

What is a leader? This is a topic of much discussion, especially in the modern era. Books and articles ad nauseum have been written about leadership, and many seminars have been delivered on this topic of what it takes to become a leader. The simplest definition is leaders inspire others to change while also serving the core need(s) of their group. This was John Wooden’s style, one the most revered coaches in the history of American sports. A basketball coach of legendary ability, he was famous for his simple but inspirational messages to his players. As the above quote illustrates, his message to players was as powerful on the court as it was off the court in the rest of life.

One central question is are leaders made or born? Much of the literature seems to indicate a leader can be groomed; that is, this stuff can be taught1–4! However, in common everyday interactions, there seems to be some confusion, consternation, and presumption when it comes to the characteristics of a true leader. Not everyone seems to agree on what “good leadership” looks like, and there is some danger it can …

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  • Contributors AAZ is the sole contributor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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