Are you a leader?
July 15, 2011
Leader! Leader! Leader! Everyone wants a leader. Everyone knows we need a leader. But what makes a leader? Who is a leader? How can we identify a leader?
A leader with vision has a clear, vivid picture of where to go, as well as a firm grasp on what success looks like and how to achieve it. But it’s not enough to have a vision; leaders must also share it and act upon it. A leader must be able to communicate his or her vision in terms that cause followers to buy into it. He or she must communicate clearly and passionately, as passion is contagious.
A good leader must have the discipline to work toward his or her vision single-mindedly, as well as to direct his or her actions and those of the team toward the goal. Action is the mark of a leader. As you read on and the picture of a leader clarifies and unravels you will be able to judge better a real leader from a wanna-be leader.
How often have you heard the comment: “He or she is a born leader?” There are certain characteristics found in some people that seem to naturally put them in a position where they’re looked up to as a leader.
Whether in fact a person is born a leader or develops skills and abilities to become a leader is open for debate. Some sit and pontificate about whether leaders are made or born. The true leader ignores such arguments and instead concentrates on developing the leadership qualities necessary for success. There are some clear characteristics that are found in good leaders.
“If you can become the leader you ought
to be on the inside, you will be able to
become the person you want on the
outside. People will want to follow you.
And when that happens, you’ll be able
to tackle anything in this world.”
1. Good leaders know themselves.
Knowing oneself is necessary when faced with challenges or ethical choices, communicating with those who have different ideas, making decisions, and identifying sources of satisfaction.
2. Good leaders are committed.
In addition to being self-aware, an effective leader is not afraid to take on responsibilities. Sometimes it requires putting the organization or group first—and keeping it there.
3. Good leaders are honest.
People want to follow an honest leader. When you start a leadership position, you need to assume that people will think you are a little dishonest. In order to be seen as an honest individual, you will have to go out of your way to display honesty. People will not assume you are honest simply because you have never been caught lying.
4. Good leaders are forward looking.
The whole point of leadership is figuring out where to go from where you are now. While you may know where you want to go, people won’t see that unless you actively communicate it with them. On a very simplistic level this can be solved simply by setting aside some time for planning, strategizing and thinking about the future.
5. Good leaders are inspiring.
People want to be inspired. In fact, there is a whole class of people who will follow an inspiring leader–even when the leader has no other qualities. Learning to be inspiring is not easy–particularly for individuals lacking in charisma. It can be learned.
6. Good leaders are enthusiastic workers.
People will respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause. Although the responsibilities and roles of a leader may be different, the leader needs to be seen to be part of the team working towards the goal. This kind of leader will not be afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty.
7. Good leaders are assertive.
Assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness. Rather, it is the ability to clearly state what one expects so that there will be no misunderstandings. A leader must be assertive to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader.
A leader can be...
Being an effective leader does not always require moving heaven and earth. A leader's role can vary and be effective in small, yet extremely powerful ways.
1. A clarifier listens, summarizes, and makes things clearer.
2. A coach encourages others to develop their skills.
3. A facilitator helps the group set goals, make decisions, choose directions, and evaluate progress.
4. A delegator helps each group member apply her talents and interests to the group's goals.
5. An initiator gets things moving.
6. A manager helps coordinate the parts of a project and keeps an eye on progress.
7. A mediator helps resolve differences.
8. A networker connects people with people and people with ideas to move the project forward.
9. A problem-solver suggests solutions and ways to get things done.
10. A visionary sees creative solutions, new directions, and possibilities.
"Setting the scene with small leadership acts gives you credence and respect when big things happen.