Definition of leadership:
leadership. noun. the action of leading a group of people or an organization; the state or position of being a leader.
The definition of a leader, is what the headline above states. Reflect on this. It also talks about the “state” or “position” of being a leader. To me this categorises a leader as having certain qualities of leadership (thus being in the state) and /or being in the position of leadership.
From this, we can infer that there are at least 2 types of leaders – 1. A leader with Leadership qualities and traits and 2. A leader who is in a “position” of leadership. As far as I am concerned, I would always prefer to be a leader with Leadership qualities and maybe no position, than to be a leader with inadequate leadership qualities, but at a position of leadership. Believe me, history is replete with examples of people without leadership qualities, who had ‘greatness’ thrust upon them – and who subsequently ensured the ruin and downfall of themselves as-well as their organisation. We will not waste time and energy discussing them.
WHAT IS LEADERSHIP ALL ABOUT?
Again, this is like opening up Pandora’s box. Lets keep it simple. To us, in any industry, a leader is simply someone who inspires us to do things to the best of our abilities and for the progress of the organisation. Its that simple. An honest, simple, dutiful and humble peon can be inspiring too. He doesn’t need an office or a long winded title. So how is he a leader? Simple – he inspires others with his personal example. Think back, you will find many many people from various walks of life, most with no titles or fancy offices, who insipred us with their acts, their views and with their persona. (Make a list of such individuals. Study just ONE QUALITY in each that stands out. Try to incorporate that ONE QUALITY into your life and your actions. Just watch the magic happen). (To learn more and to have an accountability partner on your journey, call me).
CAN ANYONE BECOME A LEADER?
Short answer – YES. Since, by definition, a leader is also made from being in position, the mere appointment of a person to an office makes him / her a leader. Given this head start, the onus now lies on the person to either live up to the stature of that office. Those who succeed are the ones who remained grounded, connected and able to inspire their tribe.
HOW DO I INSPIRE MY TRIBE?
Yes, this is that Aha moment, the moment of truth when I as the author am supposed to give you that magic spell, that magic wand that will instantly make you a leader. I am truly sorry. With over 30 years of leadership experiences, I still have not found that wand. (I am looking – will share in and when I find it). However, I do have some insights, which I will share with you. Read on.
So, here you are, with greatness thrust upon your shoulders, looking for that divine intervention that will catapult you to leadership greatness. I wish you luck my friends – I really do. While you wait for that bolt of lightning, here are a few things you can do to add sparkle to your position as a leader:
- BE HUMBLE: The greatest leaders have always been humble. Being humble, makes others want to help you. Arrogance just pushes away people. Humility is like honey to the bees – you will find your tribe relating to you and sharing insights. Do not let others mistake humility for weakness. Be strict and firm where necessary. Soon your tribe will appreciate your fairness and your reputation will spread. It is this reputation that carries you. You tribe must know and feel that you care.
- KNOW PEOPLE: Remember when you were a child (or even nowadays) if a stranger or a senior knows who you are – how pleased you feel when they call you by name and recount your qualities. Do that for your tribe. A leader who knows his people will seldom fail. As you get into your office (or say a webinar nowadays) try to find out who all you are likely to meet during the day. Keep a small diary with their information (birthdays, which department, contributions, children, concerns, anything that is their passion, etc). Just imagine how you would feel, if as you were chatting with a few colleagues, your boss passes by and says “hey – I visited your blog – well done – lots of good posts and reviews”. Now think as to how you will do the same for your tribe.Find occasions and create situations to build up your people.
- COMMUNICATE: This is a critical area. Each individual understands differently. Hence we need to explain the same thing – differently to different people. Initially, OBSERVE PEOPLE around you – how do they communicate. What are their communication styles? Again, make a note of it. Use different communication styles as per individual proclivities. Again – see the magic happening as each member relates to you as if on a personal level.
- BE STRATEGIC: Being strategic and being visionary is probably one of the most important qualities of a leader.This also includes being positive. Use your vision and positivity to secure your tribe. This feeling of security will yield rich dividends. Being visionary also builds trust as your tribe feels that you know the answers and will help them succeed. Remember that. Your tribe is counting on you. Hold yourself accountable to them.
IS LEADERSHIP LEARNABLE?
Of course it is – thats how people like me earn a living! Jokes apart, yes, leadership is both teachable and learnable. One prime ingredient of leadership is INTENT. The intent by which you learn or teach must be honest, sincere and resonate with your core. You should not learn leadership – just to earn the next promotion. Instead learn leadership to be the best you can – with or without that promotion / salary hike / opportunity / bigger better deal. People can instantly discern the motive behind your actions (or inactions). Hence, keep motives aligned with the overall evolution of yourself, the organisation and especially the people within the organisation.
I wish you great luck in your quest for becoming better and better each day. Very few like a person who is “perfect” – however everyone likes a simple person who keeps trying to better him/herself! Do remember that as you embark on a journey to be the best you can – you owe yourself this! Honesty of purpose and sincerity of intent will always shine through. Exude this and you are a leader. Rest will fall in place.