There has always been the question “Are leaders born or made?” The answer to this question is a rather paradoxical one. While we have the examples of famous personalities who had been leaders from adolescence, there have also been many who rose above all as true leader by sheer force of their determination. But, I am not discussing here whether a person become leader by birth or makes himself one. I am discussing the qualities that leaders posses which makes them different.
We all have certain behaviors and capabilities that differentiate from others, but a true leader has something extra. Ability to motivate and directing others and helping people grow in the own abilities is one of those skills a leader possess. Being a leader does not always mean that you are the leader at your workplace. Skills of a leader can be put to every area of life as a parent, spouse, a charity board member etc.
We certainly may have grown over time and learned many effective skills by experience but to identify the leaders in us; all that is required is an open mind.
Traits Every Successful Leader Must Have
Desire to lead.
If you do not want to lead other, you’ll always be uncomfortable in the role of a leader if you somehow manage to get yourself into one. Without a desire to lead, you may face difficulties out of your ‘comfort zone’ and you may resist this change and won’t put efforts to acquire the skills required to become a leader. You will struggle with daily work and your team will sense it and ultimately, you might lose their respect as their leader and the situation might become chaotic.
Commitment to the mission and vision of the organization
It is the mission and vision of the organization that keeps it going forward. You are expected to believe in the organization’s mission and vision because without believing it yourself, you cannot effectively lead others to assist on accomplishing company’s goals. Imagine trying to make others believing in what you don’t believe yourself. If you can do that, then either you are a exceptionally gifted actor or a really good illusionist. . But for most of you, it would be quite impossible.
“Be true to your word, be what you want to see everyone as”. Simply said, always do what you say or fulfill your commitments, be authentic in your actions and speech and demonstrate the behavior that you would like your team to show. Your team is looking up at you as an example and your behavior influences theirs.
Integrity in this sense has a simple meaning; doing what you say you will do and behaving the way that you expect your team to behave. At first glance, that may sound simple enough. But if you can truly master integrity, you will find that it changes whole teams and even whole organizations for the better.
Not coming through on promises made, gossiping, taking credit for others’ work, or treating them disrespectfully etc, can be traced to a lack of integrity.
These are some of the few traits that every leader or to be leader must focus.
Leading vs. Managing
Management and Leadership are two different skills needed for the growth of an organization, but there is often confusion between the two. Managers may fail to lead and wonder why they have difficulties in getting people to work at their best capabilities. On the other hand, leaders might fail at managing and getting tasks completed on time and on budget. There might be situations when both skills are needed, so you will need to focus on both or adapt according to circumstances.
Differences between Management Skills and Leadership Skills
Management skills -the skills required to manage resources in order to deliver a task, product, or service.
Leadership skills – the skills required to engage with, motivate, and persuade people to buy-In to a vision, objective, or goal.
Table: Managers vs. Leaders
|Thinks short term||Thinks long term|
|Thinks tactics||Thinks strategy|
|Plans how and when||Asks what and why|
|Looks at the bottom line||Looks to the horizon|
|Knows the day-to-day business||Knows the customer|
|Focuses on improving existing products and processes||Focuses on new products and breakthrough processes|
|Builds success through quality||Builds success through employees|
|Gains authority from his/her position||Gains authority by his/her mindset and behavior|
Who would you choose to be depends upon you? Chances are that you will have to make your choices based on two things; job titles and whether or not the person supervises other people.
Try to identify leaders in your organization. You may end up picking the same people you’d chose for managers because it is a stereotype we believe that the people at the top levels are the leaders. But the truth is, a leader can be anyone in the organization. It’s important to remember that leaders don’t always hold a job title or wear a suit and tie.
- A leader can be the ordinary driver who drives safely and influences other drivers to perform their jobs carefully and efficiently.
- A leader can be the customer service executive who might have developed a new strategy to serve customers and others follow his example at work.
- They can be the co-worker who sets the example for the rest of the team by always being on time, doing their best work, and keeping a positive attitude. Or they can be the person who takes the initiative to organize the group’s help when a coworker’s family has experienced a tragedy.
Leaders come in all different types. It is important to know that leaders do not always hold a job title or wear a suit and tie. Anyone can be a leader and can become a leader; all he/she needs is the desire to be one and the mettle to become one.