You must have heard it over and over again in leadership training and seminars that leaders are made (especially the good ones), not born. Since leaders are made, it means that the opportunity to lead is open to everyone. But how come only few grab this opportunity despite the power and prestige that go with the position?
In most cases, it has something to do with ignorance and with ignorance comes fear. The position of a leader has been projected by some as so formidable that only those with extraordinary capabilities are qualified to assume. This erroneous belief often comes from those who discourage competitions for political reasons.
Take heart for these ambitious but selfish people couldn’t be more wrong. Leadership can be availed by anyone because it comes in many shapes, sizes, and qualifications that most can fit into one. Here are some of the qualities a leader should have. Assess yourself carefully. You may not be aware you already possess them.
- Assess your skills for leadership. Remember that no one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. Find out this “something” you are good at. It may be the right niche for you to lead. A good leader appreciates his skills and expertise and is willing to share them by leading others. You do need not possess extra remarkable abilities. Having or willing to develop your abilities a few notches above the rest qualifies you to be a remarkable leader. As they say: a one-eyed man is the king in the land of the blinds.
- Assess your reason for leading. Although ambition is an important issue, having a nobler reason ensure a more successful leadership. With leadership often comes power and power entails responsibilities. As a good leader, you should be able to control and harness this power for the good of those who look up to you for guidance. The success and longevity of your leadership depend much on the cooperation and performance of the people you lead. You live in a symbiotic relationship with each other because your success depends on them and vice-versa.
- Assess your attitude towards leading. Do you have an optimistic outlook of things? A good leader is not satisfied with the status quo. He wants to lead his team forward. He believes that nothing stands still; it either goes forward against the current or is swept backwards by it. Think positive and always look for ways to improve things. Leadership is about bringing progress to the group and to himself.
- Assess your inner strength to lead. In short, do you have the guts? This does not mean you have to be belligerent and dare everyone who opposes you but willing to stand up and speak when faced with adversities or fight injustice. Oftentimes, you have to go against what is popular when you take this stance. Being right is the priority of a good leader over being popular.
- Assess your judgement. Can you be fair with people whom you do not like personally? A good leader should be able to rise above personal prejudice and treat his people equally. He should keep an open ear to every opinion of his members. The art of good leadership is to consider everyone’s opinion but make up your own mind.
- Assess your relationship. If possible, your relationship with your team should go beyond superficial. Address your members by their names, the most beautiful sound in their ears. Be genuinely interested in what they feel and say. As every part of a human body is important, so is each member of your team. (A relevant trivia: do you know that even the small toe that seems useless is important to keep your balance while standing?). By knowing your people better, you are able to judiciously appoint the right people to the right posts in your organization.
- Assess your sense of responsibility. A good leader does not withdraw from his responsibilities. He is accountable for his every decision. He believes that to fail sometimes is not a sign of poor leadership but lacking the humility to own one’s mistakes is. Instead of blaming others, a leader makes a negative outcome positive by learning from it. He knows that each failure is a step towards success and makes his team realize the same so discouragement and demoralization are avoided.
- Assess your ability to inspire others. An inspired and passionate leader can influence his team to feel the same. He is aware that there is a big difference between leading and dictating and with equally different effects. He leads by deeds and examples which are supported by his words. A good leader inspires people to change for the better on their own accord. This manner of leading makes them act accordingly with or without his presence, hence more effective.
If you possess some of these qualities or are willing and able to develop them, then you are a good timber for leadership and can be a sturdy support to your team.