Are leaders made or they are born? Observing different leaders can help to provide insights into this matter.
Leadership is largely developed so leaders are mainly made. Even those who are natural born leaders still need to sharpen their leadership skills or they will fail.Leadership capabilities are important in all areas of life, whether in the family or at the place of work. Fortunately, there exist powerful tools to help those who would like to boost their leadership skills.
1. A pleasant personality
A leader’s success is dependent on the support and cooperation of other people. Leadership by brute force can only work for some time. If the followers don’t follow willingly, the leadership will fail.
A leader’s attitude towards the subordinates determines whether they will cooperate or not. Good leadership has a lot to benefit from working on developing a positive attitude towards other people, to always think positive thoughts towards others and to see the good in them. Attitude is a major determinant for either getting cooperation or not getting it. People will cooperate with, and make work easier if they like the leader and feel good around him.
A leader needs to learn to deal with personal emotions such as; anger, pain, bitterness, frustrations and other negative emotions. If you do not make peace with yourself and all that you have been through, these issues will impact negatively on other people. When these issues are not dealt with subtle things about you will repel people. This could be your tone, the pitch of your voice, your facial expressions, and other body language features will pass negative messages to the people around you.
One needs to be genuinely interested in people and care about them. Have empathy towards people. Be human. Do not try to reform people. Accept that the world is full of variety; all flowers are not of the same color; there are red, yellow, blue and white flowers. Do not try to make all flowers white. Respect variety.Do not treat people as statistics but as individuals. Be observant. Be a good listener. Get to understand individual strengths and weaknesses. Learn what each individual is good at or what he or she can be good at if trained and supported well. It is possible to have very good people as part of the team and still fail because they are being pushed to do things they are not good at.
Learn how to bring out the best in people. Encourage them and recognize them for their achievements. Avoid negative criticisms but instead, work alongside them and be the right role model that they can emulate.
2. Be Authentic, Be genuine
People willingly follow a particular leader because they resonate with him. Every leader has his own unique following. Don’t ever try to please everyone because no one can ever achieve that. Stand for a cause and don’t waver; be steadfast no matter what happens. Focus on your cause and those who resonate with you will follow. People respect and admire a person who can stand as a brand.There are leadership lessons we can learn from animals. When the duck in the lead takes flight, the entire group follows faithfully. They don’t hesitate or ask questions. A leader knows the way and leads the way. He does not command the team to go, but he goes with them.
How does a leader get to know the way? By investing in himself, being knowledgeable. People do not follow someone who is inferior to them. A leader can be trusted to lead the group to success.
3. Unwavering Courage
The leader goes ahead of the pack and is ready to take risks. People follow an individual of courage, one who is confident of his abilities. Feed your beliefs so that you develop a strong belief system. Sharpen your skills.
A courageous leader does not hesitate to make decisions and to get things moving. He will feel the fear and allow himself to have his doubts and his fears behind closed doors but when he gets out there in the presence of those who are looking up to him, he exudes courage. He is confident even when defeat seems imminent. A leader cannot afford to show fear and doubt to the followers.
4. A Good Planner
People will not follow someone who does not plan adequately. People do not want to be driven around by someone who does not know the route or one who gets lost every now and then wasting a lot of time and resources. A good leader understands the task ahead of him and what he is supposed to be doing.
A leader constantly evaluates himself, identifies the areas he needs to improve in and invests in improvement. He will read knowledgeable books, attend forums that build him, and surround himself with the right people. He will pursue higher education if it necessary for his position. He chooses his team carefully and also empowers them to ensure that they are competent to take care of their responsibilities. Success is dependent on the input of each and every member of the team and not just the leader.
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5. Does more than he is paid to do
A leader does not command people to work, he leads by example. If he tells his followers to do what he won’t do himself, they feel used and resentment creeps in. He is not afraid to do the different tasks that need to be done, whether they are part of his job description or not.The people develop confidence and get inspired and motivated as they watch their leader getting his hands dirty working alongside them. A leader is right there among the team. He is a role model. Others emulate him since he leads by example.
A leader is knowledgeable and experienced in the overall function of the organization. This means that the person is competent to allocate roles and responsibilities and to delegate. He knows who is good at what hence he puts together the right team and organizes the right support for the team. He is able to give clear instructions, to supervise, and to offer guidance. He is also able to make modifications promptly because he understands what should be done.
Leadership is not handed to anyone on a silver platter, there is a price tag attached to it. Leaders are lifelong learners. They never stop working hard on themselves so that they remain good role models equipped with the knowledge to lead.