Are you a leader?
You may answer a sure ‘yes’ because you are already in a leadership role, but not everyone was born to be a leader.
The skill set is not for the faint hearted, and many believe that one cannot be taught to be a leader. However, some are pushed into the position by circumstance, a boss, or by default. Others choose to taken on the role, believing they are leaders, but many soon realise it is not as easy as they thought.
Leading people, getting them to do as you say, and producing results from your delegation and instructions, can be the hardest job you will ever take on in your life.
Now, we are not trying to throw a negative angle on leadership, no, we are merely pointing out to those that are currently in this role, or those who are contemplating taking this on, that they need to be aware of a few important areas around leadership. These areas, if focused on, will assist you and enhance your leadership skills.
There are many books written, many articles publicized, and many a public speaker who has preached on the subject of leadership. And for good reason, as mentioned above. So, we have gathered a few significant pointers from all over the globe, and summarised them for you.
We firmly believe that there are natural born leaders, but that is not to say that a person cannot learn the fine art of leading.
Here are a few aspects of a great leader:
- Is a great communicator
On all levels, mind you. Whether it be face-to-face, via email, a telephone or Skype call, his monthly blog, or a simple SMS, a great leader gets his message and meaning across in a powerful and precise manner. You can tell when someone has the strength of leadership just through the way they command a conversation. And, we don’t mean that they take over the conversation or correspondence method. We mean that they steer the conversation in the direction that is both meaningful and productive.
- Motivates and Inspires
A great leader will always look for ways to motivate his followers and even his peers, friends and family. He or she would act in such a manner that they would be an inspiration to those around them. The old adage that goes around that one must lead by example, couldn’t be truer for a really impactful leader.
- Always connecting with people
Relationships are vital to a leader, and even more so, creating and cultivating good relationships. Without solid relationships, a leader cannot lead. Trust and integrity come into this aspect, and is the reason why it features as number 4 on our list.
- Is honest and has integrity
We are not painting a picture of a perfect person, and we are not saying leaders are perfect in every way. You may think so after reading these few pointers, but if we took all else away, and left just the factors of honesty and integrity, you would still have a great leader. Living an honest life and always trying to act with integrity, is something we all should strive for, but as a leader of people, these two values are vital. How can your employees think about following you if they cannot trust what you say and do?
- Tries to empower others
A leader does a lot for himself, but he is also a stickler on empowering others to do. He or she believes that if you give a fish to a person, they will eat for a day, but if you give them a fishing rod, they will eat for a lifetime. Teaching others is paramount to a leadership role. Show, do, and then teach.
- Has a plan
Leaders always have goals in mind, for themselves, and for others. Their goals may be short term or long term, but they will always have a strategy to go with those goals. A great leader will never let you tell them about your goal and leave it at that. They will ask how you plan to get there. They will ask you if you have mapped out a road to reach that goal. Another cliché’d quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”
- Has a positive attitude
Sure, things go wrong, and we all get down, as do leaders. But, it is their attitude to life that matters the most. And, that can be said of all vocations and positions, but even more so for a leader. He or she must always present a positive sentiment to their followers, even when the going is pretty tough, and the future is looking bleak. A positive attitude can get you out of any mess – just try it!
- Is creative
This one may have you baffled, but one has to turn on the creative juices in this day and age. Thinking laterally, is a term bantered about, as is “think outside of the box”. Creative Thinkers are a novelty, but an essential part of every business, and every lifestyle. One doesn’t have to be an artist to be a creative thinker. One just has to be able to see the possibilities that could be from an adverse situation. Problem solving is part of being a leader, but the smart part of this is putting it back to your employees, asking them what they think can be done, probing, prodding and feeling out just what would be another way round the problem. By asking the right questions, a leader can get their staff to come up with the most creative answers and solutions. Leaders are both creative and critical thinkers.
- Always asks for help
A leader isn’t a magician. He does not know the answer to everything. A great leader will know when to asks for help. He or she will reach out to the professionals and the people in the know, when they are confronted with a dilemma they cannot solve. They know that there is no weakness in asking for assistance.