Do I think everyone makes a good leader? No I do not. Do I think everyone has leadership potential? Yes I do, with the right training combined with the ability to reflect on the way a person communicates with others. My views may have you jumping up and down at the mere suggestion that not everyone makes a good leader, and so I invite you to read on and watch the video below.
Let me shed some light on why I believe not everyone makes a good leader. For the past 20 years I have worked for several bosses, a.k.a. ‘leaders’. Some have been awful, some moderate and a couple inspiring. Over the years I have noticed that many managers have arrived to their position by a natural progression of attainment. People often end up as leaders or managers because they have been in a role for so long and or show a high level of competence at it; and I commend them for this level of achievement in their given role.
I’ve also worked with some very educated people, as in they have many letters after their name, who are also very competent, and at times outstanding in their knowledge. BUT… being a leader is not about how you complete a task, nor is it about the letters after your name. Being a good leader goes beyond this.
Imagine for a moment that we have been put into a leadership role. To lead effectively it makes sense to understand the role of a leader and of course some of the key qualities needed to be effective. So let’s put on our leadership hat for a moment. Imagine yourself in the current role you hold, but you are now the ‘manager’. Below are some of the key qualities a leader must be able to demonstrate if they are to have any hope at inspiring their colleagues to work to their potential, which of course benefits the business or area we manage. And to keep us honest let’s also pretend the staff that we are managing answer the questions about us:
- Is your manager trustworthy?
- Are they self aware about their impact on you and others?
- Do you they treat you with respect by treating you positively?
- Is your manager excited about life and ready to keep on learning?
- Are they confident and believe in themselves?
- Does your manager have the ability to keep themselves and the team focused on the goal?
- Can your manager break a task into manageable steps and make progress towards it?
- Are they committed to excellence?
How do you think your colleagues would rate you? Did you pass? As nice as it is to know that we have some of these qualities I can tell you that I did not learn most of these skills at school, nor at University. I developed these skills from living life, taking chances, setting big goals and achieving them, listening to others, getting excited about topics and researching them for interest, sharing my knowledge with others just because if felt good and MOST importantly having a few amazing mentors (good leaders) that showed me how to do things better or some would say, more tactfully; the ability to get on with others to reach a common goal.
What I am trying to demonstrate is that a leader is only as good as their ability to get on with people and inspire them using their personality and sound people strategies to attain success. They are also people who consistently use words of kindness, appreciation and encouragement to inspire loyalty, enthusiasm and a team spirit.
How many mangers have you worked for that have given this to you?
If you have been as lucky as I have to experience this on more than one occasion, then like me you will have gone beyond what you thought you were capable of achieving. If you have not yet experienced a good manager, maybe it is time to find a new job or business opportunity where you can be that leader for yourself and the people who work with you.
2012 is just around the corner…. what is your year going to look like?
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