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What is Leadership? That age-old question. Am I a leader? Am I good enough to be a leader? Do I want to be a leader? Can I be a leader and still follow?
Written by Ian Caldecourt
4 Minute read
15 December 2020
In 2020 the need for leaders (and good ones at that) became paramount to success and survival of businesses both large and small.
Let’s begin with why it’s perhaps so difficult to answer the question? Every time you read or hear about ‘great’ leaders certain names are quoted, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Jacinda Ardern, who has been widely praised through the COVID-19 pandemic. Is this the first issue? How can we, as individuals ever hope to reach these dizzy heights? We need to break leadership down so that we all have a chance to shine and consider what we need to do.
The facets of leadership are often seen as the ability to inspire, set a clear vision while having human qualities around empathy and humility and the ability to motivate and develop others.
When I look back at my life and career the people who have truly ‘led’ me are those special individuals like an inspiring teacher, a boss who took those extra moments to bring out the best in me and my parents who helped me shape the life I currently lead. Now, these people are all within reach as are the actions they took and so the barriers to being a leader become easier to overcome. If we can all consider and implement the small actions that inspire and lead, we perhaps all have the chance to lead.
Think about that person who came to your mind when I asked about those ‘special people’. What was their role? What did they do to help you? How did they work with you? What one thing jumps out for you as memorable? Lock those things in your mind and imagine yourself doing the same things.
Let’s consider how we can all ‘act like leaders’ and begin to move in the circles we aspire to be in. The following are key things all great leaders do:
These five things won’t turn us into the next Steve Jobs alone, but they will inspire and help others. This creates a baton that others can run with and in turn, help others.
Sometimes you don’t even know you’re leading, you didn’t set out to do it, it just happened. Classic signs of the accidental leader include:
All people can be encouraged to take the lead at various times but do remember that some people won’t feel ready or perhaps want that opportunity. That’s fine too!
In the current climate creating a team with a sense of belonging will encourage others to take the lead. Asking people how they want to be lead, how they want to work and how they want to socialize can all encourage people to lead themselves and others.
If you have a clear and compelling mission and values, the people around will share that passion and in turn, take that forward to others. You will create a movement for your beliefs and ideals which will cascade. Think about how momentum grows across countries and continents with the simple build-up of a message and people willing to take it forward and lead others.
The more people you can have around you willing to help and lead, the less the burden comes down to one set of shoulders. You lead, you inspire and you shape others to be the best they can be – you don’t do everything!
And so leaders are just people like you and I. They are not superhuman, although from the outside they can often look like they are. They simply do the fundamental things well.
Go back to those things that inspired you years or just weeks ago. Ask yourself if you can help other people the way you were helped by a leader. I’d imagine the answer is yes. Be a leader today because tomorrow you will have created another.
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