What is Leadership
To gain respect, give respect.
To be really successful you will need other people. You will need to lead them,
but what is leadership? We hear the term natural born leader, but is it
something you have to be born with? I believe that leadership is something that
can be learned.
There are many attributes a good leader must
have, I will try to cover most of them here, throughout the page you will see
bold or linked highlights. Not all leaders will have all of these, but the more
you have the better you will be at leading people. Please note that I am not
talking about dictatorship here. Dictatorship controls people through fear and
coercion, this will work for a while but it does not have the power of good
leadership. People are not objects for your use, give them the respect
and dignity they need.
As an example take a look at an
army general. If he relies only on the force of command then his soldiers will
probably follow their orders but not very willingly. They will not fight as well
and eventually it could lead to desertions. On the other hand a general who also
has the respect and trust of his troops would have an army with pride, they will
follow his orders willingly. History has many examples of small dedicated forces
overcoming much larger ones.
What would make somebody want to
follow you, what is leadership. Obviously you must have somewhere to lead them
to, see How to Set
Goals. There must be a good reason for going there or doing that, Purpose.
Do you really believe in what you want to achieve,
Passion. If you
don't believe in it nobody else will.
What is in it for them? You
must have an understanding of what they need or want. It may be your
greatest passion to be successful, if you can't show other people that it will
help them, then you will not have any followers. What is leadership without
someone to lead?
will be needed. To gain the followers you will have to tell them why they should
follow you. Then they will need directions and assurances along the way to the
goal. People will seldom blindly follow, if they can't see where they are going
you will have to show them.
How much can they trust you?
You will have to be very open with them, Honesty is very important. Even
when something goes wrong you must let them know, if you have been a good leader
then they will help you overcome the problem. It takes a lot to build trust and
very little to lose that trust.
You must trust your followers.
There is no point in having followers if you don't trust them enough to do their
part. The old saying about 'if you want something done right , do it yourself'
is not very workable when you are looking at what is leadership. You will have
to trust that someone else can do it right, they may not even do it the way you
would, but it is still right.
If you never trust other people to
do things then you will have to do it all yourself, hard work, and there is no
point in having followers. You may have the occasional disappointment but as a
general rule when a person is shown trust they will do their absolute best to
keep that trust.
Many people think that they would like to be a leader but do they have the
courage? When you take on leadership you are taking on the responsibility
for other peoples lives to some degree. If someone gets hurt, physically,
financially or emotionally because they followed you then it is your
It might be easy to say that it was their own fault, they made a mistake. Now
look more closely, why did they make a mistake? Did you fail to train them
properly, did you supply the right instructions, the right equipment. Perhaps
you overestimated their abilities or underestimated the task. Your first action
must be to look for anything that you did wrong, because that you can correct.
You are never fully responsible for another persons
life. For example, perhaps you have shown them a way to make money but they just
don't do the actions needed, well you can hardly force them. Even so you should
see if you explained it correctly, supplied the help and support that they
needed. Maybe you failed to fire their enthusiasm enough. Only when you have
honestly looked at your actions can you comfortably release your responsibility.
A good leader should be decisive and confident. Decisive means
making decisions, you can not sit in indecision. Check out all the pros and cons
to the best of your ability, then decide and get into action. Be
confident in your decision, doubt is only another form of indecision and will
only result in a lowered ability to get the job done.
If your decision was wrong then it was wrong. Have the courage to stand up and
say "OK people I made a mistake there, this is what we should do." If you have
always been honest with them then you will gain even more respect for being
willing to admit your mistake. People know that mistakes can be made, just make
sure that you are right more often than wrong. About the only mistake you can
really make here is to not decide in the first place. Also see
What is leadership? Well you
have to lead. Whether you are a foreman in a factory or the head of a great
religious movement you must be out front. It is your drive and control
that will keep things moving. Be ready to take the hits if something goes wrong,
then you can honestly take the rewards when things go right.
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What is Leadership.
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