“Why aren’t there more leaders today?” It is a question that seems to be asked frequently as time goes on. The response by well-meaning and knowledgeable individuals who are leaders in their own right, is often, “All you have to do to become a leader is…” – you fill in the blanks. Their advice, based on their experiences, always includes the most important characteristics of a great leader and can provide a path for aspiring leaders to take. I have learned a lot from them but perhaps the greatest thing I have learned is …
…We are all leaders! It does not matter who you are or what you do for a living. Leadership capability is within us all. That is because there are at a number of simple truths about leadership that are important to know:
- A leader is not a person who does something, but rather is someone who inspires others to achieve greater heights. A leader recognizes that the only person who can make a change in your life is you, and then provides the environment and the encouragement for you to take action. Leadership is not the result, it is the behavior and actions one takes.
- Leadership is not about budgets, programs implemented, the wealth you have or the records you break. Leadership comes from inside; it is all about you – your ability and desire to recognize, respond to and overcome the challenges that you face every day of your life. Heroes are not those individuals who have no fear; they are the ones that act in spite of their fear. The same can be said of leaders.
- Leadership is highly complex; there is no ‘silver bullet’ or ‘best practices’ or even a set of competencies or behaviors that one can follow to earn the title of leader. There is no checklist to follow to become a great leader. Leadership is situation dependent. The skills that make you a great leader in one setting may be irrelevant, or even detrimental, in another.
- There is no light switch, no event, no bit of knowledge that turns someone into a leader. It is in the application of the knowledge you possess, the values that you hold, and the person that you are, that make you a leader. While we all may be born with leadership capabilities, these aptitudes must be recognized and developed to make them effective. The answer to the question, ‘Are leaders born or made?’ is yes!
- The title of leader is transient. It is the accumulation of behaviors and actions that makes a person a true or great leader. One improper behavior, even just the perception of impropriety, can destroy all the ‘good’ you have accomplished. Leaders earn their title every minute of every day.
- A leader simply is someone who makes a difference in someone’s life. A leader does this bymaking others aware of the possibilities that exist and inspiring them to achieve those possibilities.
To learn more about this, you may want to read my new book, Leadership Is…(dot, dot, dot), which illustrates through stories and personal experiences that we all display leadership traits throughout our lives but often do not appreciate or even recognize them as such. It is a reminder for experienced business managers and executives of the leadership basics that have made them successful; but it also serves as a revelation for others, that they already possess leadership skills and are and can be leaders in their own right.
Whether you want to make a positive difference in the lives of others or if you are doing so already, this book is intended for you! It can be found at: