Do you think you know enough about leadership to assume the role today?
My answer…”Be careful what you wish for!”
The life of a leader: a day spent shaking hands, delegating difficult and time-consuming tasks, and always talking about big picture projects. Going from meeting to meeting to listen, and maybe offer a quick snapshot of what’s going on within the ivory tower. Truth or fiction?
Leadership is a complex blend of competencies and capabilities. It is not a position or a title; it is action and example. It is not just a matter of guiding others to complete a task. The foundation of leadership doesn’t necessarily include motivation or inspiration. Those traits are earned, along with respect, trust and integrity. You see, true leadership is having the confidence that when you say, “let’s go”, the team has complete buy-in and is behind you all the way.
“A boss has the title. A leader has the people”
— Simon Sinek
The role of a leader is often a thankless, risky and lonely responsibility. You cannot lead from the crowd — you must have the boldness to act alone and make difficult decisions that will affect people. A leader must have the courage to take risks and trust and be vulnerable to go down the difficult road in an effort to achieve the greatest reward. It’s understanding that failure is part of the game, and knowing how to audit your self-awareness and move forward without fear of failing again.
“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers”
— Ralph Nadar
You are not born a leader. People become leaders through various processes, including teaching, learning and observation. Leaders possess a specific skill set that comes from practice, application and observation over a period of time. In other words, leadership is a process, and more importantly, a commitment. Like all processes, it is a skill that takes time to develop. Rush, and you may become an ineffective or unconfident leader. Invest in the process, believe in the system and have a genuine willingness to learn and you have the opportunity to do great things.
10 SKILLS NECESSARY TO BE A COMPETENT LEADER
INTEGRITY – having character, consistency and a commitment to always do the right thing
COURAGE – being able to face a challenge head-on with confidence and fearlessness
PASSION – a tremendous desire to contribute to the task at hand because of the buy-in you have
COMMITMENT – dedicated to achieve beyond all circumstances and challenges
EMPATHY – the genuine ability to understand another’s feelings and help them reach their full potential
PERSPECTIVE – the ability to provide a point of view that offers solutions, yet willing to adjust if necessary
GRATITUDE – an honest feeling of thankfulness for the genuine efforts of others
WILLINGNESS – being prepared to act, both at planned and unplanned times, with confidence
HUMILITY – the ability to be and act with sincere disregard to your title or position
SELF-AWARENESS – the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires
If you still feel confident, then the work will begin. You must be prepared as a leader to trust and serve and give those around you permission to succeed. In order for that to occur, you must be available, embrace diversity, view people in terms of their potential and challenge the unchallenged. It will be your job to raise the bar and ensure that everybody who follows understands your vision and a willingness to invest in their success.