Leaders are everywhere around us, and in many ways they are heroes. They may not be able to move faster than a speeding bullet or lift trucks with one arm, but they do change the world. They make a difference, they influence lives and they create history. They operate in every medium of human life – business, sports, entertainment, politics and especially daily life. History shows us voluminous records of great leaders like Socrates and Alexander the Great, and more recently, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa who all left their indistinguishable marks on this world. As diverse as they were, they all had within them an intrinsic ability to rise above their circumstances, overcome their limitations, silence the critics and follow their true calling and change it into reality.
Leadership skills have been the subject of intense focus and study for many decades now. Many people say that leaders are born and not made, while leadership itself is considered both and art and science. But this is a common misconception because while leaders have certain unique personality traits or charisma that cannot be impersonated, they all do have certain universally recognizable qualities to them, that can be studied, practiced and inculcated. In this article we will look at a few such traits:
Everything begins with character. A leader could be talented in multiple areas but will be absolutely useless if he or she doesn’t have a strong character. ‘Character’ is a loaded term and encompasses several aspects such as – Honesty, Integrity and Humility. A leader’s character is crucial as it impacts every other aspect of his leadership and relationship skills.
A leader without vision is like a ship without sails. A leader must intuitively know exactly what he or she wants to accomplish, why they want to accomplish it and how they’re going to go about accomplishing the same. As the driving force behind a company, project or cause, the leader must have a strong sense of vision and purpose that inspires the entire team.
Having the right vision is one thing but being able to communicate that effectively to your peers and colleagues is another crucial element entirely. Efficient communication filtering down from the leader is vital if everybody needs to be on the same page. The responsibility of this falls squarely on the leader’s shoulders. Sometimes important details can get lost in the intricacies of the vision and these need to be carefully laid out in a simple and clear manner for ease of comprehension.
Tantamount to a leader’s efficiency is his ability to execute his visions with an unbroken, determined focus. Often there are numerous aspects that get in the way or be a distraction to the end goal. And just as often it is necessary for the leader to say ‘no’ in order to be able to focus and say ‘yes’ to the crucial, more relevant details. The ability to focus comes into play especially when times are tough and chaotic and the ability to focus during troubled times is what sets a leader apart.
While the leader is the driving force for the project, leaders need to be self-motivated and need their own ‘fuel’ and passion to keep going. It is this passion that is ultimately crucial to the whole project. Often there will be challenging times or setbacks and it is during these times that the leader’s passion will serve as a momentum. Naturally the leader’s passion will filter down to the team, inspiring them with his or her optimism and zeal. Only if the leader is passionate will the team feel the weight and energy of that passion.
Leadership Training is crucial to developing the next generation of leaders in companies around the world. Businesses are beginning to understand the significance of invaluable traits that a person needs to have developed in order to become an efficient leader.