Or do they follow you because they have to? The eternal question is, "Are Leaders born or made?"
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The best estimates offered by research is that leadership is about one-third born and two-thirds made. The fact that leadership is mostly made is great news for those of us involved in leadership development. Leaders can be developed. I make the point in many of my articles that all of us were born naked to the world and basically a blank slate that accumulates information as the body's system experiences everything taken in as information during our life path.
With this simple start to life and all things being equal, which we know are not, there are many leaders in every field that worked their way through the educational and work life process on their way to becoming the leaders that they are.
So the question begs an answer and the article will be sharing critical points that define good quality leaders and why they are held in this esteem. Coming out of the military, where I spent ten years, we all learned the way the system's leadership works which is basically the Chain of Command . This explicitly defined system has everyone in the system responsible to the rank above them, with no questions asked. It works great overall, but we both know that not all leaders are considered to be good. There are many situations where because of the Chain of Command, that the person above you is missing in the finer points of leadership and leaves you questioning them. This situation already negates the principle of good leadership and leaves holes in the armor, allowing the people being led to seek other counsel and even question their assumed leader. In the military it is critical to trust and respect your superior as there can be situations where lives are at stake and the guidance and direction of the leader can have implications that can lead to disaster.
So what are we looking for in our "leaders" ? Let us develop a list of criteria that affect our perception of who the leader is and what defines them as such. Since we look for leaders that have greater poise, agility and patience to minimize the impact of uncertainty of the situation, here are some hits that are critical for good leaders to exhibit. Our initial perception of the composition of a good leader is reflected in their attitude, body language and overall presentation, but let us go further.
Maintains honesty and is Un-Emotional. Stick with proven behavior and use common sense to make justification calls when needed. You can not be perceived as wearing your emotions on your sleeve. Emotions are controlled by your sub-conscious mind and will show themselves when least expected if not controlled. Emotions are deep anchors created by what we learned early on in life and build on as we go through life. When unchecked, the people being led will walk away with the thought that you are not objective enough and come across as too passionate for the situation at hand.
Good leaders do maintain their composition and can express concern and care.
Is able to delegate. It is critical that leaders understand this basic principle. One alone can not take the responsibility to do all things as well as utilizing others to be involved in the process. By assigning parts of the overall task to specific people, it rewards them with the responsibility of being part of the team and their fit in the process. A good leader understands this and gets the team involved in all aspects of the objective. This gives everyone involved with the assignment a feeling of ownership in the final analysis and drives them further and harder towards the finish line. Like many of you, I have used the TEAM analogy many times in presentations over the years and finally realized that what we say, "There is no I in TEAM" while true, does not bring into play that there is an M in the same word. The M stands for me, which is another person that can disrupt the flow of the team's project and could possibly sabotage the project. Delegation gets everyone involved and vests them in the purpose and scope of the team's objective with personal responsibility for their part.
Is a Great communicator. Good leaders understand that their choice of words, the tone and clarity of their voice and the body communication signals given in the presentation will all add up to how well the group understands the given assignment and where they fit in the larger picture. If these skills are not part of the total makeup of the person in charge, they should take the initiative to work on this key area of leadership. If you have most of the qualities associated with good leaders, and this is one that needs work, you are leaving a wide gap in how responsive the team is to your leadership.
It is critical especially in military terms to be as straight forward as possible with specifics on how everyone interacts within the overall assignment and how well they understand all aspects of the objective. Without clear, concise, and direct communication skills, you will be left with team members that leave the meeting and follow their own course as they try to work out the assignment on their own terms. Remember the old "telephone" game, where you tell someone a short story and have them repeat it to another and they tell it to another. The income is always the same with the story being told by the last person not even close in some cases to the original. The reason is we all have exclusively different filters that take in verbal and body cues based on our personal insight and view of the world. This will always distort the final message and the key reason to work on your communication skill sets.
Exhibits Confidence. Confidence is exemplified by outward as well as internal behavior. It is easily acknowledged and accepted as a trait that most people want, as it shows a person that can handle the job, the position, and the leadership that looks to follow it.
Truly confident people are quiet and unassuming. They already know what they think; they want to know what you think. Their mind map has been built from whatever timeline started them on the road to their state of internal confidence in whom they are. I always make the point that we all landed here naked to the world and a blank slate, with the exception of the only two fears humans are born with, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Everything else we are today, has been learned over the span of your lifetime or as I call it our Road of Life.
Confident people are accepted for upward mobility and tend to land the higher level slots in their career path. They did not allow obstacles to get in their way and found ways around them. You will see them as group, team and company leaders, as people naturally want to follow a strong confidence personality. Confident people do not need the grandstanding, they know what they've achieved and it presented as a positive internal feeling and strong, positive body communication. They do not need the validation of others, because validation comes from within the person and is set by the background and life experience on their road of life.
Displays Positive attitude. As stated in previous articles, your attitude is directly reflected by the disposition of your sub conscious mind. We all started on out something of a level playing field, yet by the time we are three to four years of age, we have developed our internal moral compass and set of values that will drive our adult behavior later in life. A child praised consistently will have developed a positive mind set, while one that consistently hears how stupid and dumb they are, will inversely develop a propensity to think in negative terms and ultimately create self sabotage in their life.
A leader's followers are always on the lookout for their leader's actions, behavior, relationships and overall demeanor. Use all situations to showcase your leadership experience and resolve. Good, quality leaders set the tone for their organization. A positive attitude neutralizes chaos and allows a good leader to adjust their course through any negativity. A leader's followers feed off the positive attitude during times of uncertainty. Maintain a positive mental attitude and keep moving forward.
Responds Decisively. Good leaders maintain their composition and never show any sign of doubt. Their communication contains conviction, confidence and authority, utilizing their delivery style to give their followers a sense of calmness with everything under control.
If any doubt is created in the minds of the followers, chaos may ensue. Followers want a leader to guide and direct their movement forward, whether it is a small group or a large corporation. A good leader understands this principle and does not waver on their delivery of the message. We have already covered good communication and where it fits in the delivery of the message. When situations warrant change, followers want to know specifics and appreciate a leader acting decisively on their behalf.
Accounts Accountability. When a leader is accountable to themselves and their organization, they have already made the decision to assume responsibility and take the required steps to solve the problem at hand. In reality, leaders are most composed during times of crisis and change when they are fully committed to resolving the challenge. Accountability negates the negative thinking that can quickly permeate the team and its objective. A good leader accepts that their responsibility and accountability is the sum total of the entire team and has delegated this sense of importance to the team members and their share of responsibility.
Has the ability to Inspire others. Inspiration and motivation are two completely different values. Motivation is an internal factor driven by the inspiration of others. A misnomer is the term Motivational Speaker. In reality they should be labeled Inspirational Speakers, as no one can motivate the individual but themselves. Going to a Self Improvement seminar will definitely inspire us to leave the function and motivate ourselves to meet the standards of the seminar. I make the point to seminar attendees all the time that I can not motivate anyone but myself. What I will be doing during the presentation is to touch your hot buttons that will inspire you to create change in your behavior. This change comes about by creating a sense of urgency within the person that motivate them to start the new behavior. Unfortunately most people quit early in the process, not realizing it takes at least twenty one times of the new behavior being challenged to create any permanent change.
Act like They Know what they are doing. Great leaders know that one of the most effective ways to maintain composition during difficult times is to act like you have been through the process before. Leaders that display the ability to solve the problem with their initiative and decline action exhibit a strong executive presence that gives confidence to their followers.
Crisis and change can create concern which many times can manifest into worry and doubt. Doubt can also create fear which is destructive to any challenging situation. By maintaining an even keel, the best leaders remain cool, calm and collected. This basic behavior enables them to go macro and evaluate the overall picture before making key decisions to control the situation. Compositions puts the leader's followers at ease, creating a safe workplace environment.
While I am the first to admit that there are many other hits that good leaders may exhibit, these are a quick review of basic hits that any good leader should have in their tool box. I also know that there are many leadership styles that add support to what true leader's exhibit in their role and plan to write about these in a future article. Bottom line, good leaders whether born or made, inspire others to follow them and generally lead by example.
The Author, an industry leader in the Professional Beauty Industry for more than 40 years at every level, has certification in hypnotherapy. His insight and experience have helped many companies and individuals with their growth and development over the years. His book, Happiness Is Your Birthright , supports his philosophy on life and is a practical handbook to create positive change through one's life.
Source by James Hobart