Being a Leader is More than Just Being in Charge
How can we define what a leader is? Is it a person who’s in charge in a company or someone who makes all the decisions in a work team? Are there a series of qualities that a person needs to have in order to be a leader?
From a work and organizational point of view, there are several personal and behavioral characteristics related to the position a person has in a company. These make identifying a leader a lot easier. Nonetheless, a question that many people ask themselves is: is being a leader something innate or is it something achievable?
If we see leadership as something characterized by personal attributes, we’d reach the conclusion that being a leader is something innate. A born leader is a person who knows how to guide a group of people and someone who likes organizing things. In addition, they know how to solve every problem that arises.
Now, if we see leadership as something that relies on the position the person has in a company or group, we’d reach the conclusion that being a leader isn’t innate. A “made” leader is shaped over time by their experiences, such as the positions they’ve had, their relationships with other workers, and the way they direct a group. In this case, the determinant characteristics wouldn’t be related to their personality.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
-John C. Maxwell-
On the other hand, when we associate leadership to a person’s behavior, we should pay attention to the things they do. Does that person direct their behavior toward the company’s productivity or rather toward social relationships within the workplace? Depending on a leader’s behavior, we could identify leadership according to the needs they focus on.
Characteristics of a good leader
Beyond everything we’ve already said, being a leader is also about charisma and inspiring others to achieve great things, kind of like a role model. Basically, being in charge doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a leader. Although there are personality traits that can facilitate leadership, we must bear in mind that leading is a bidirectional concept that refers both to the influencer and those influenced.
In order to lead, the person needs to be able to deal with people assertively. They must be empathetic, know how to communicate with others, and be motivated and hardworking. Basically, they must have all the good characteristics people look for in a professional. They must know how to work in a group, have the creativity to solve problems, and clarify the organization’s goals in order to purse them correctly.
A person can be born with certain skills to guide others. However, if they want to lead in an appropriate way, there are two things they must do. First of all, they must perfect the skills they already have. Second of all, they must develop new ones.
In addition, we mustn’t forget that leading requires creating and maintaining a good environment. This is something that both the leader and the followers do. We must remember that we’re all free to choose who we want as our leader. Hence, leadership shouldn’t be neglected but earned every day.
“The best leaders have a high consideration factor. They really care about their people.”
Leading demands a lot more than just exercising power
As you can see, being a leader requires much more than the ability to direct and guide. Leading is influencing others, getting them to want to do what one proposes, and keeping them motivated to do so. A leader is someone who’s able to make others work comfortably and efficiently.
A leader is someone who recognizes other people’s values and skills and encourages them to keep moving forward. They know their team very well and are aware of their strengths and their weaknesses. A good leader doesn’t bring their team down. They’re inspiring and helpful and always make sure the team uses their strengths to the fullest.
Therefore, being a leader isn’t easy. Leadership isn’t meant for everyone. Those who have a leading spirit are able to motivate others to do great things. They know just when and how to take risks to get the best results possible. Leading is all about keeping an open mind, flexibility, and responsibility. Leaders have to keep in mind that those below them are a big part of the equation.
“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”
-John C. Maxwell-