Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes. Libraries, bookstores and online resources are filled with advice books on how to become a leader. Today’s edition includes a look at Franklin County’s influential leaders. Our area is fortunate to be blessed with more strong leaders than can be included in one day’s edition, so today’s Progress section — part two of a three-part series — showcases but a few of the county’s most influential leaders.

No doubt, you will know some of the people featured because the scope of their reach is broad, though none of them seek acclaim. Many leaders in this area do good works for good’s sake, without the need for lots of attention. In fact, most are humble and said they seek to pay it forward and give back to the community through their time, energy and resources because it is the right thing to do or because they were helped and inspired by others and want to foster giving and service in others.

Anyone can be an influential leader by speaking up for what is right and what needs to be done, by taking action and by being accountable. It also involves sticking your neck out and having the courage to be wrong even when it is uncomfortable to do so.

Leadership can and should occur every day in families, in the work place, at school, at church and even when walking down the street. Good leaders must be purposeful and action-oriented. That’s something each of us is capable of being.

Clearly, leadership doesn’t have to be shown in big ways. Small gestures can make an important difference too. Just think what a difference it would have made in the recent explosion and subsequent fatal fire from a natural gas leak at Kansas City’s JJ’s restaurant in the Country Club Plaza area, if someone would have been a leader and called 911 earlier. Perhaps if someone had stopped long enough to note that something wasn’t right based on the bad, “gassy” smell, then one person wouldn’t be dead and many others injured.

The influential leaders highlighted in today’s edition are good at accomplishing big things, but they are equally effective at doing the little, purposeful, everyday things that make a difference for others. We each can and should do our part to look out for our neighbors and be the one who isn’t afraid to speak up when a gas leak or some other situation occurs.

Leadership can be quiet or loud. It can be big or small. But it rarely can be labeled as inaction.

— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher