Leadership is a skill for any role—not just managers. We all wish to learn how to become a more successful leader, improve communication, make better decisions, manage conflict, and lead others through times of change. More importantly, we all wish to be surrounded by leaders. Not to tell us what to do but to have our best interests in mind and guide us expertly.
We often come to crossroads in our life when we ask ourselves, "Is there there is all there is?" and it is in moments like these that we desire the 'best'. We want and wish not for 'more', but, for the 'best'. What we really want and what people really want from us is 'LEADERSHIP'.
We all look for reviews before booking an appointment with a doctor because we want our doctors to be the best (I'm not sure if that's really possible); we want schools and colleges for our children that can convince us that they are the best for our children; we want a life partner who can prove to us that they are the best possible version of human race that ever exist (tough one that one!); we want waiters and waitresses to give us great recommendations about 'what to eat' (leading the table!). In short, we all want our life to be populated with great leaders. We all need that 'great expertly' guidance- the great leader! Even as we think we don't need it- we do! Remember, as toddlers too, we needed our parents to 'lead' us, to 'guide' us and show the path ahead. Basically, we all want and need expert advise.
When we try to contemplate over how we've been functioning we would surely realize that we all have the ability to provide leadership in some way: as professionals, as spouses, as parents, or some other role for that matter. This listing only helps us realize that we've all been wanting to lead because that is an inherent quality in us. To find a reason to want to lead we all must remember that when people provide leadership, we create value. And value creation creates happiness. Few things brings us as much satisfaction as a job well done.
All people in formal leadership positions, including myself, occasionally look around in the middle of whatever they're leading and wonder to themselves why anyone would let them be in charge of anything. And yet what I've learned from being a leader is not only that absolutely anyone can provide leadership, but the attributes that make a great leader in a formal, corporate setting also makes a great leader in life.
In my view, in order to be a great leader one must:
Believe in their Inner-Voice: Leadership is a learnt behaviour and anyone who believes that he/she CAN do something, has the DESIRE to do something, can HELP people figure out how to get things done, and ENCOURAGES people to succeed beyond what they thought possible is a Leader! - the one who firmly believes in his/her inner-voice and can make people believe and follow the same.
Know how to Inspire others through emotional connection as well as rational arguments and explanation: A key quality of a leader is the ability to inspire others. To quote Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."- Leaders should articulate their vision in such a way that followers can see an image of the desired future in their minds' eyes, can feel it, hear it, smell it, and long for it to be a reality. Leadership involves engaging the whole person including the thoughts, sense and emotions.
Keep others' best in their minds and provide expertly advice to create value: A leader's role is to raise people's aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there. Great leaders speak to the best in us- they inspire us to reach for the stars and to become what we dream of being. They offer expertly advice, they motivate and energize followers towards goals that exemplify positive values for the organization and society. The best leaders put in place a structure that allows for employee's personal development so they can acquire the necessary skills and attitudes to move the company forward in line with the leader's vision.
As per the above highlights, leadership is more than a set of procedures and activities. It is an expression of the type of person the leader fundamentally is at heart. To become a leader you need to know your higher purpose and believe in it passionately. You need to develop the qualities of empathy, openness and compassion as well as drive and determination. You need to be committed to nurturing the welfare and commanding the trust of those who follow. Only in the context of a trusting relationship can people feel safe, empowered and freed to demonstrate their greatest strengths.