Being a good leader
Updated: Feb 13
Are you a leader?
Do you have potential in becoming one?
Few scenarios for you:
Have you listened to someone’s issues and gave them emotional support?
Have you taught things to someone using your experience or expertise?
Have you acted as a bridge between two or more parties to resolve conflicts?
Do you want your family, friends and the community to be in a better place than before?
Do you do things that solve other people’s problems?
Do you motivate yourself and others to do things that mean something?
Have you influenced someone to do something positive for themselves or for others?
If you answer no to one or more of these questions, try to evaluate carefully on what you do on a daily basis or what you’ve done in the past. Then answer again. The answers should be a resounding ‘yes’. Many of you might not have thought of these things as leadership attributes but you might be mistaken. You do have the potential.
We all know the term ‘leader’ has been thrown around a lot. Some will tell you they are a leader because they get the job done. Some will tell you they are a leader because they know better than the team they are leading. Others will tell you because they have the domain expertise or have been in the game longer qualifies them to be a leader. There are several other reasons why people consider themselves as leaders.
In my experience, there is no binary way of looking into leadership. It is more fluid than that.
Getting the job done, knowing better (in some areas), having experience etc. adds to the factors that contribute to being a good leader. We all know or have experience working with people that are supposed to be leading us. However, we must dig a bit deeper to best understand what actual leadership is and should be like.
A good leader is not that common. We have come across these types of people sometime in our lifetime or have been actively working with them.
Simon Sinek says "Leadership is a choice" and I agree wholeheartedly.
Once you proclaim yourself to be a leader, there are sacrifices you have to make going forward. Once you make that choice, you are exposing yourself to risks, criticism, stress, confusion and responsibility. One must understand the size and complexity it bears. The mere idea is not that you will do less because your team will do the work for you but you will do more because now you have to make sure that the team dynamics are intact and everyone is aligned. By alignment, I am talking about building high performing teams, which in itself is a monumental task.
Shifting your mindset from assuming yourself as a focal point of approval to being a representative of the group that serves the group’s common purpose is pivotal in becoming a good leader. Your service to the team should be of the highest calibre and should focus on making sure that progress is made in overall mission and team dynamics.
Until now it seems like only one person is being mentioned who is accountable for all the things that the team might do. This should not be the case. The whole team should aspire to be a good leader. Leadership should be decentralised. This is one of the things a good leader does i.e. lead others to lead themselves. We may or may not have been in teams where there are more than one person that can easily take the baton should something happen to the other one. We know they are among us and the least we can do is to recognise their contribution and help out as much as we can.
Of course, having a leadership potential does not guarantee you becoming a good a leader unless:
You are willing to serve others without the need for appreciation - Don't forget that you are here to serve
You harness optimal emotional intelligence - Many of our important decisions are affected by our feelings
You are curious - All great leaders ask questions
You are disciplined - Habits define who you are
You take action - Theory is nothing without action
You reduce your ego - Understanding you are just a tiny speck in this universe
You maintain optimal integrity - Trust is key
You provide quality motivation - When chips are down, the real work starts
You maintain effective communications - No one knows what's going inside your head
You are courageous - It isn’t right if it isn’t scary
You provide the team a purpose - Without a common goal, nothing is worth doing
You should be prepared to fail and get back up - Remember, you will fail at some point
These are few traits that define a good leader. Good leaders will look to improve these traits over their lifetime and they will do just that.
The underlying mindset of good leaders is to try becoming a better version of themselves everyday. In that sense, good leaders simply want to leave the world a better place than they found it.
Do you agree?
Are you a good leader?
Are you working towards improving these traits?