Leadership. That’s one big, heavy word. It’s talked about in the most serious of conferences, and seminars, is a part of books and courses. Innumerable articles and speeches get churned out on a daily basis on it, all seemingly trying to find out ways in which one can become a true leader. But nothing about Leadership seems so complicated to me! Then why are we surrounded by people who portray it to be an out-of-the-world phenomenon? Look around yourself; there ARE leaders who walk among us, live with you. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes; I wonder which one fits you!
Can Leadership be Defined?
Beyond the obvious jargons that get thrown onto the canvas after uttering the word ‘leader’, I find it indisputably one of the hardest terms to define. Why? Because I cannot think of it as absolute or fixed. Would you classify it bounded? Maybe no. The Prime Minister of the country is a leader, the single mother of 3 who runs a cooperative is a leader, the CEO of a company is a leader, the Head Watchman of a Bank is a leader, a school football captain is a leader, a teacher who inspires forward thinking is a leader…Do you realize that this term is actually very flexible? Over time, it has been altered when certain characteristics are found in people- to ‘lead’ from the front. But before that, let’s understand what leadership is about.
Core Leadership Attributes
Above we highlighted the range and variance amongst ‘leaders’. So what makes us classify or group them under that term? To be honest, there is a specific pattern that may be common to leaders…or let’s phrase it a ‘prototype’. Some may sound rudimentary but you’ll be surprised to see how uncommon they might actually be in real life.
- He Has Influence: His word and influence can help him execute tasks with much precision.
- He is a Confident Communicator: …need I explain?
- He is Rational, Wise & Has Foresight: Doubt These Requirements?
- He Nurtures the Potential of his Team: He can guide, motivate and inspire his team to attain their potential.
- He Has Followers: Peter Drucker once said that“The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.” Hey, can’t argue with that, can you?
- He Takes Credit Without Actually Doing So: Did that confuse you? Just an ordinary day in the life of a leader.
A true leader also sets a productive tone and mindset. Once established by the leader himself, he can focus on the success of others. Newer studies suggest EQ or Emotional Quotient is a game changer.
If you turn the pages of the right books, you could maybe come up with an ideal definition. To me, an ideal definition sounded like this: “Leadership is a process of social influence which works to increase the efforts of others in pursuit of a common goal.” Would you agree?
Lead By Example
A leader cannot afford to be a hypocrite. He cannot afford to preach and not practice. And exactly this is leading by example. Leaders DO. Leaders have a Vision, a goal to attain. Real Leadership is nothing but setting the example. It is an instinctive preference of showing the path and giving instructions to get there. It is an innate quality. It does mean the leader becomes all-in-all of the team.
As a leader, you have to be aware that you are constantly under the watch of your subordinates, who may be inspired to follow the good points while gossip about your only-human errs. “Actions speak louder than words”, you know. If what you say is highly conflicting with what you do, then you will lose all credibility as a leader. It is important that you never preach any ideology that is incompatible with you.