Being a leader is more than knowing how to lead. You have to know how to motivate, speak, be a follower at times, and create solutions to impromptu changes. Often times people struggle on what this word really means and what all comes with the job per say. I would beg to differ and say, don’t see it as a job, a title, or a work formality; view it as your gift and talent. Everyone is not cut out for leadership nor do they want the stresses or highs and lows that come with it. This quote by John Quincy Adams spoke to me “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” After reading over articles and thinking of the many leaders I know, most of them don’t necessarily see themselves in that role. Most see themselves more in a coaching role to assist and help create. It is why when I saw the quote from John Quincy Adams, it spoke volumes to me.
It is not always about being heard and many times it is the action behind the proclaimed words that show your leadership ability. Everyone wanting to be a leader may not be viewed or recognized as one, so make sure you evaluate why you are doing it. It is not about the notoriety, it is about the ability you have to help others transform, the legacy you leave behind, and understanding what comes with being a leader. As a leader you may be a relationship counselor, mentor, a campaigner for others projects, and not understand all moves when they are made.
I have found, however, that the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence per the article shared on Harvard Business Review titled what Makes a Leader. They go on to share in the article that there are 5 components of emotional intelligence at work: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill per the site at https://hbr.org/2004/01/what-makes-a-leader. As Rosalynn Carter shared, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” Think of where a leaders standpoint is. As a manager leading people you should be able to jump down and get some elbow grease with your workers versus watching and barking orders. You have to gain respect by more than just laying down a title that may have been given to you by or for other reasons than you actually being what others feel a good leader is. As part of the self-awareness piece realize you won’t be right to lead everyone just as one pastor is not the right one to spiritually to lead all people. Be able to learn how to relate to the ones you are developing versus overseeing or micromanaging. Nor will all see eye to eye on everything, but they will be able to help most succeed that are willing to take in an ear full and put the actions in motion.
The Washington Post shared an article on May 21st this year called A Great Leadership Reading List – without any business book on it. They discussed speaking with Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey (one of Twitter’s founders and current CEO of Square), Costco founder Jim Sinegal to name a few on what they have read lately and none of them named business books. They did however, have some ties or take a ways that a leader can gain from. I truly believe that being and becoming a leader is not necessarily learned, but skills that can be honed. Some don’t know where or how to find the tools nor the instruments to put them into play. Most of the great leaders I know have a good balance of some spiritual belief, self-awareness, uncanny motivation, and will work on a problem until they see light at the end of the tunnel.
I saw a photo about leadership and it showed it as though it was under construction. I loved that because as a leader you are seeking new ways to connect with who you are leading and all connections won’t be the same. I always love it when people want to discuss who makes better leaders, men or women. I really just shake my head at this as it has nothing to with gender or other things that you see on the exterior. It has to do with their ability and willingness to help birth other leaders and nurture followers.