WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
In simple words, we can say that leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. This leadership definition captures the essentials of being able to inspire others and being prepared to do so. Effective leadership is based on ideas but won’t happen unless those ideas can be communicated to others in a way that engages them enough to act as the leader wants them to act.
Leadership is the inspiration and director of the action. He or she is that person in the whole group that possess the combination of personality and leadership skills that makes others follow his or her directions.
HOW ARE LEADERS MADE?
While there are people, who seem to be naturally endowed with the abilities of leadership more than others. People can learn a lot from leaders and work on their skills for their betterment. Leadership is a winning combination of personal traits and the ability to think and act as a leader, to be the person who directs the activities of others for the good of all. History is full of leaders who have been great at leading their teams and has done a tremendous job. In the words of Erika Andersen, “leadership capability falls along a bell curve. So the fact is that most folks who start out with a modicum of innate leadership capability can become very good, even great leaders.”
If we talk about the research, it has been said that leaders are one-third born and two-thirds made. Although having inborn qualities such as being assertive, extroverted, empathetic and having the degree of social intelligence that allows a person to size up social situations understanding the social processes accurately also make it easier to learn how to be a good leader.
WHAT MAKES A LEADER?
There are certain qualities that every leader acquires, and those qualities make him different from all, and he shines out of the crowd because of his skills that make others follow.
Let’s have a look at the qualities that a leader possesses
- Honesty and integrity
The supreme quality of the leader is unquestionably integrity. Without integrity, there is no success possible no matter you are a leader of a hockey team, in an army or an office. Honesty and integrity are two important ingredients which make a good leader. How can you expect your followers to be honest when you lack this quality? Leaders succeed when they stick to their values and core beliefs, and it is not possible without ethics.
To be a good leader, you should be confident enough to make sure that other follow your directions. If you are not sure about your own decisions and qualities, then your subordinates will never support you. Being a leader, you have to the full with confidence; you need to get the assertiveness to gain the respect of your subordinates. This does not mean that you are overconfident, it will demotivate your subordinates, but instead, you should at least reflect the degree of confidence required to ensure that your followers trust you and respect you as a leader.
- Be inspiring
The most challenging task for the leaders is to persuade others to follow. It can only be possible if you inspire your subordinates and set a good example for them. Whenever they face any difficulty, they will look up to their leader and see the reaction to that situation. If you are completely able to handle the situation, they will follow you. Having a positive approach is important for being a leader as it will reflect on your actions. You need to stay calm under pressure and keep the level of motivation. In the words of Quincy Adams, “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” If you get success in inspiring your subordinates, you can easily overcome any challenge at present and in the future also.
- Passion and commitment
Your team look up to you, and if you want them to give them their all, you will have to be passionate about it too. When your teammates see you getting your hands dirty, they will also give their best shot. It will also help you to gain the respect of your subordinates and infuse new energy into your team members, which helps them to perform better. If they feel that you are not fully committed or lacks passion, then it would be an uphill task for the leader to motivate your followers to achieve the goal.
- Communication skills
Until you communicate your vision to your team and them the strategy to achieve the goal, it will be tough for you to get the results you want. If you are unable to convey your message, you will never be a good leader. The team would not be able to bring good results. Words have complete power to motivate people and make them do what you want them to do. You need to use them effectively for the better results.
- The capability of decision making
Decision making is the most critical thing that a leader has to do. Apart from having a futuristic vision, a leader should have the ability to take the right decision at the right time. Decisions taken by leaders have a profound impact on masses. A leader should think long and hard before taking a decision but once the decision is taken, stand by it. Although most leaders take decisions on their own, it is highly recommended that you consult others before taking a decision. After all, they are the ones who will benefit or suffer from your choices.
When it comes to responsibility, you need to follow the approach highlighted by the famous authors. A good leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of the credit. Make sure that every one of your subordinates is accountable for what they are doing. If they do well, give them a pat on their back but if they struggle, make them realise their errors and work together to improve. Holding them accountable for their actions will create a sense of responsibility among your subordinates, and they will go about the business more seriously.
- Empowerment and delegation
You cannot do everything perfectly. It is essential for a leader to focus on key responsibilities while leaving the rest to others. By that, I mean empowering your followers and delegating tasks to them. If you continue to manage your subordinates and overpower them, there will be a lack of trust, and more importantly, you will not be able to focus on important matters, as you should be. You must delegate the task to your subordinates and see how they perform. Providing them with all the resources and support them which are required to achieve the target.
- Innovation and creativity
Innovation is something that differs from a leader from the follower. To get ahead, a leader must be creative and innovative at the same time. Creative thinking and constant innovation are what makes you and your team stand out from the crowd. Think out of the box to come up with unique ideas and turn those ideas and goals into reality.
Leaders should develop empathy with their subordinates. Unfortunately, most leaders follow a dictatorial style and neglect empathy altogether. This is the reason they fail to make a closer connection with their followers. Understanding the problems of your followers their pain is the first step to become an effective leader. Even that is not enough until you work hard and provide your followers with the suitable solution to their problems.
To become a good leader, you must have all these qualities, but if you lack some of these qualities, then you might struggle to make the mark in the world of leadership. You will have to set a good example for others to follow. That is where your commitment, passion, empathy, honesty and integrity come into play. Excellent communication skills and decision-making capabilities also play an essential role in the success and make him stand out from the crowd.