Once the word leadership is mentioned, series of words like management, guidance, authority, control and influence comes into the picture.
More than all that leadership encompasses, influence takes the cake. It is influence that draws people to uphold a particular cause.
So a leader is automatically an influencer. Practical examples are seen in families, schools, organisations, countries and international bodies.
In our time we have ceremonial and ineffective leaders who more power hungry than committed to service.
However the world has recorded leaders worth remembering both in and out of the political scene. We have icons like Mandela, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Pope St John Paul II, Fidel Castro, Ceaser Chavez and many others from all works of life.
Something makes a leader stand out, and that the ability to influence not just by word but by corresponding action.
As commonly said, leaders are made not born. So before these influencers become luminaries in shaping the lives of others, they worked on it. They imbibed qualities that gave flesh to a perceived leadership idea.
Let’s bear in mind that a leader is not always the reputable man or woman in an office or prominent position. It is not necessarily a billionaire. A leader is anyone in whatever capacity that drives growth and development for the good of a given unit and beyond.
Let’s take a look at some of the basic leadership qualities that can make the difference:
All leaders are agents of Change. A true leader serves not to fulfill an ambitious dream but to make a difference. It is the drive to transform that spurs one into activities that will yield the intended goal. This is what makes people take initiative.
Honesty of mission and vision has always been the best policy. Once mischief and hypocritical traits set in, every other thing is jeopardized. Real leaders do not play games with people’s lives. In the business world it may be hard to see people who are not solely profit minded. What makes the difference is the impact of your product/business services in the lives of the consumers.
It’s simple. If you know the worth of what you want, you would focus on how to go about it. Because life comes with twists the strategy may not always work out as planned. Hence, the importance to keeping an open mind- flexibility when necessary. But ultimately, leaders keep their eyes on the goal.
A leader must be critically advanced in thinking. Foresight is the ability to see beyond the present as it concerns the future relevance of a given action or intention. This gradually leads to a plan.
Foresight goes with alternate ropes of decisiveness and of course flexibility. If a leader is driven by the honesty of purpose, making step by step decisions will be easier. A plan-less leader is an indecisive leader. Any hovering distraction for this leader freely perches and stalls the decision making processes.
5. Invitation To Share(Empowerment)
An influencer does not want to just dish out orders. He/she invites others to share in an ultimate good that he has discovered. This is the reason we go to school, join a religion/corporate body or an organisation.
It is the reason there is such a thing as division of labor- Knowing that we are all invited and in fact have a place to render service to humanity.
The greatest legacy ever, lies in how much you have impacted other people’s lives. Bill Gates is respected not for his multi-billions but for bridging a gap with Microsoft. By so doing, opening doors for many in the digital world.
Late Princess Diana through the love and care she exuded to all who came her way, influenced many around the world. Her kindness even in death continues to serve as an invitation to many to unconditionally lend a helping hand to those in need.
Consistency is everything. It’s easy to fall backwards, and super-tasking to move forward. This is the quality that helps you swim against the current. You do not want to compromise your efforts over time, the best way to keep the flag flying is consistency in the hardwork and essence of mission.
Communication is a two-way thing. It takes a giver and a recipient before communication can commence. As you bring others up to speed with your goals, it is pertinent that you are also attentive to their suggestions and opinions. Two heads are always better than one.
It is your example of dedication to your duties as a leader that brings forth loyalty from others. If your are not faithful in discharging the duties for which you were chosen, it is difficult to command the respect of the people.
How do you sell your vision to others? Confidence. Your credibility makes you the reliable leader that the people can trust.
Barack Obama had an interesting political resume but his faith and optimism in the cause of change in America made him the first Black American president.
Confidence builds up with the bit by bit steps in living out one’s belief.
Call it the sixth sense, hunch… the gut feeling maybe. Intuition is something most leaders can attest to. Sometimes we find meaning in the illogical. We find truth deep within; a truth that probably makes no sense to anyone else.
Being in sync with your inner man can help you discern these instincts. Who gives up a comfortable life to live and cater for the dejected of the society? Mother Theresa did, thanks to trusting that instinct, the world was taught the deepest form of charity.
Intuition has launched several leaders into calls and missions greater than themselves.
11. Positive Attitude
A true leader is optimistic. He sees the good in every challenge. With every failure, he discovers a new road to success.
Having a positive attitude motivates the leader and those around him. It fills them with hope and energy to keep up with the good work.