“So, who wants to lead today’s project?”
When a teacher asks this to her class a number of things typically happen. Hands may go up ecstatically, while others remain firmly on their desks. Some of the students might even make every possible effort to avoid eye contact with the teacher while others may start screaming Me! Me! Me! for dear life.
Which group did you fall into?
You see, even at a young age we display characteristics that place us into one of two categories. The leaders and the followers. This is not to say that one is better than the other. After all, if not for followers there’d be no need for leaders and vice versa. By the same token, those in the follower category can display leadership qualities but lack the motivation to take charge.
I’m a firm believer that any skill can be taught through hard work and dedication. Obviously, there are freaks of nature that just happen to be naturally great at what they do. This includes those natural leaders who display the charisma, confidence and unique ability to sway anyone to their way of thinking.
Let’s look at Usain Bolt, a natural sprinter who also happens to be the fastest man alive, for example. Assume that Bolt was to stop training for a few years. Another athlete with average ability, by contrast, continues to strive for the world record one step at a time. This athlete not only has twice the determination and work ethic, but with the right training he can surpass even the naturally gifted Usain Bolt.
I say this to say one thing. If you’re asking yourself whether you have leadership qualities or not, the answer doesn’t matter. The real question that you need to be asking yourself is this:
Once you’ve answered that question you can move on to the next question of
“What characteristics do I need to be considered a leader?”
Most Leaders at some point or another have displayed one or more of these characteristics. If you find that you fall into one or more of these categories then you’re already on your way to becoming the leader that you were meant to be. Let’s begin:
1. You seek responsibility. Almost on a subconscious level every leader tends to seek more of this. While the followers are typically content with being general population the leaders aim to leave their mark. If you seek responsibility, you’ll eventually find it along with everything else.
2. You inspire others. Whether it be through charisma, or one’s actions, leaders inspire those around them. By inspiring someone, you as the leader have instilled a sense of purpose in that individuals subconscious. Because of you they want to be better, they want to work harder, they want to succeed.
3. You accept responsibility. Every leader takes responsibility for his or her actions and decisions. They don’t blame others for their shortcomings. The leader accepts his or her mistakes and runs with it. Humility is the true mark of a leader.
4. You act first then ask questions later. Someone once said, “A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed later”. Leaders understand the importance of making timely decisions under stressful conditions. Leaders are people of action. Instead of thinking themselves out of making a decision they take action. This accomplishes two things: the leader is able to learn from any mistakes and two this sets the wheel of change in motion.
5. You’re not afraid of failure. This is perhaps the most important characteristic. Every leader understands that failure is inevitable and that it is an obstacle to be overcome. In fact, failure is the most direct path to growth. By failing, leaders are better poised to share their experiences with others and gain new found knowledge on their particular subject.
If you found that you don’t display all of these characteristics all is not lost. Everyone has the potential to be a leader. At the end of the day it all comes down to how badly do you want it? Likewise, if you found that you have all of these characteristics I challenge you to hone your skills. Use your leadership ability to make a difference in society and unleash your true potential .
Question: What are some of your methods for determining whether or not a person has leadership ability? Which of the categories if any resonated with you? You can leave a comment by using the form below.
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You’re probably wondering how JayJay Tieing his buckle could possibly have anything to do with Leadership Characteristics. Well friends, it actually has everything to do with it. In the words of Brian Keith, “Everything I learned about Leadership, I learned in the Marines. You see, in bootcamp, we learned all about JJ and this illustrious buckle. In fact it became second nature to let the whole base know that the 14 Leadership Traits involved JayJay Tieing his buckle.
In fact it went something like this,
“SIR! THE 14 LEADERSHIP TRAITS ARE J.J. DID TIE BUCKLE! JUSTICE! JUDGEMENT! DEPENDABILITY! INTEGRITY! DECISIVENESS! TACT! INITIATIVE! ENDURANCE! BEARING! UNSELFISHNESS! COURAGE! KNOWLEDGE! LOYALTY! AND ENTHUSIASM! SIR!”
We made it a point to be the loudest bunch on the base, this was to ensure that we didn’t get passed by another platoon in line at the chow hall (cafeteria). We looked forward to our lunch.
Jokes aside these 14 Traits along with the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment laid the foundation for us to base all of our decisions and eventually grow into the leaders we were meant to be. Now I get the opportunity to share 4 of them with you today as to avoid information overload. As you read, reflect on each trait and think about how you can implement them daily into your life.
The process of being fair while holding others accountable for their actions is the true mark of a Leader. At times it may prove difficult to hold those close to you accountable for their actions out of fear of losing a close friend or acquaintance. But remember that a just Leader has no favorites. Consider both sides of a situation and give reward as well as punishment where it is due. I’ve always respected a leader that embodied this trait and so will you.
For leaders, there are many different explanations that can be said, but I would like to focus on one in particular . There will inevitably come a time where you as the leader will be forced to make a tough decision in a limited amount of time. Obviously we’re not focusing on the military, but we are focusing on the ability to “make a decision“. I’ve always believed that it is better to make a good decision now as opposed a great decision later. A friend of mine loves the phrase, “time waits on no man”. Make a decision and stand by it. Then you can reflect and make corrections later. Don’t freeze, just act. As leaders remember that we learn from our mistakes.
Every Leader should aspire to be considered dependable. Don’t bite of more than you can chew but if you say that you will do something it is your duty to do it. Lack of dependability means lack of responsibility. You can share responsibility but you can never share accountability.
If there’s any leadership characteristic that can make or break a leader, its Integrity. Integrity goes hand in hand with setting the example. As a leader you will always be watched. Sometimes looked to for guidance and to emulate you while others will seek to criticize your actions for their own selfish needs. Don’t give them the opportunity. A take away from this is that you can do 99 things right but if you fail just 1 time you will never hear the end of it. Hold on to your integrity, it is your honor, only you can give it away.
Hey everyone it’s Ashton! I hope you enjoyed this article and I want to thank you for taking the time to support HelixLeaderz in our quest to develop tomorrows leaders. If you have any comments or questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us using the contact form below or by clicking here. We look forward to hearing you. Take Care!
I recall my days as a young Leader when I was as a Corporal of Marines serving as a Marine Security Guard at one of the United States Embassies in a beautiful country within Southeast Africa called Malawi. At the time I was fairly new to the environment and often looked to my superiors for guidance.
Upon arrival I was 1 of 8 Marines that had been assigned to this particular post. Counting from 1 to 8, 1 being the most senior I was number 5 in seniority at that time. I don’t know if any of you have ever served in the military or an organization like it, but there is typically no time to get comfortable.
Leaders are Chosen by Circumstance and Developed through Experience
In the span of about 2 months I went from number 5 to number 2 in what seemed like an instant. Marines were rotating to their next post and rotating in from others. I was essentially thrown into a leadership position due to circumstances that would exceed the scope of this post.
Lets just say that around this time I had my work cut out for me. Due to the change I was forced to take charge of the Marines under my charge and make impacting decisions on the fly that not only affected the detachment but our relationship with the host nation as well. Needless to say I encountered an extraordinary amount of challenges to overcome, however I learned an equally significant amount about myself in the process.
You see, I originally joined the Marine Corps in hopes of one day becoming a leader. In fact not just any leader, I wanted to become a great leader. At the time I didn’t understand the scope of my potential. I was already an outstanding leader, the problem was that nobody else knew including myself. That is, until the opportunity to prove myself came into fruition.
“The most uncomfortable situations in life hold the greatest potential for growth” – Panache Desai
Leadership Begins with the Mastery of Fear
Now keep in mind that I’ve always had the ability to pass on the responsibility to another. I simply CHOSE not to. Yes I was worried and afraid that I wouldn’t be able to measure up to those who came before me, but I managed to control that fear and use it as motivation to grow.
To be a great leader, it starts with want. You must have the dedication and perseverance to accomplish whatever task may be before you.You may be thinking to yourself, “but I don’t like talking to people, I’m shy”.In my next article, we’ll take a closer look at one of our most respected Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and how we overcame this obstacle in his career.
Hello everyone It’s Ashton. I want to thank you for supporting HelixLeaderz in our quest to develop the leaders of tomorrow. If you found value in this article, please share it with your friends and family so that they can experience it as well. Feel free to share your thoughts on the article in the comment section below. Also if you have any suggestions or topics that you would like to see in the future please contact us here. I look forward to hearing from you!
Definition and Importance of Leadership
What is leadership? It seems to be the type of question that everyone automatically assumes the answer but nobody really understands . I’ve been given a number of suggestions as to the answer of this question however only a few seem to make any sort of sense. A friend of mine (an acquaintance really) noted that leadership is the men and women of corporate that pay our bills. Needless to say this individual wasn’t in the right state of mind.
Another well known acquaintance tried to explained that leadership was the granted ability to tell others what to do. This explanation wasn’t as outlandish as the first explanation however, we were beginning to move in the right direction. Both in their own rights were accurate but we want to dig deeper.
- The office or position of leader
- The capacity to lead
- The act or instance of leading
You’re probably thinking to yourself well that doesn’t tell me anything and I would have to agree with you. But first lets focus on the second point for a minute,
“The capacity to lead“. Another way that we can describe the capacity to lead is “the potential or suitability to lead“. There are many critics that have this notion that leadership isn’t something that can be taught online by looking up how to be a good leader. You either have it or you don’t. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I won’t go into detail about it right now but leadership is a subject that can be taught just like algebra or biology as daunting as that sounds. In the article “Great Leaders aren’t Born they’re Unleashed ” I go into great detail destroying this myth.
Leadership stems from Passion and Influence
Leadership is having a passion for what you do and influencing others to share in that passion so much so that the negative connotations of your passion have little effect . The keyword here is influence. Every great leader in one way or another has had the unique ability to influence others. Sometime this influence has been a little over the top. In my article “A Great Leader Is…”, I identify a number of what history has defined as “Great Leaders” based on their individual qualities as well as their impact on those around them.
Leadership is the humility to admit when you are wrong and the perseverance to advance beyond failure. I’ve come to realize that many potential leaders tend to let their pride control them and their decisions. They are “afraid” of admit that they’ve made a wrong decision. At times it becomes necessary to cut losses and regroup .
One thing I’ve realized is that it is never to late learn something new. As a Leader you need to be in a constant state of learning. Prime example being my daughter of four years old is unofficially a snap chat guru. I can’t quite figure out how to make it work but she’s able to make all of these amazing things happen with the click of a button. I’ve literally had to sit down and get a period of instruction from a four year old on how to create a filter.
Leadership is being the first one in and the last one out. It is serving those that depend on you before serving yourself. Leadership is controlling your fear despite the challenges that you may face. Being a leader is quite demanding however, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. For many it is understandable why they would prefer to be a part of the general population. Without being the “leader”, one would have no responsibility but simply do as told. Simply be where you need to be on time and do what you are told. Now if you want to progress then take the next step. Wake up a bit earlier, seek more responsibility and become the leader that you were born to be.
The Miracle of Self- Discipline – Discover the KEY to Personal Greatness
Hello everyone it’s Ashton! I want to thank you for supporting HelixLeaderz in our quest to develop tomorrows leaders. If you found value in this article, share it with your friends and family so that they experience it as well. You may also enjoy these posts geared toward leadership development:
- The Leader in You Needs to Be Unleashed
- Leadership Traits Taught By the Marine Corps
- The Leader versus The Boss
Feel free to share your thoughts on the article in the comment section below. Also if you have any suggestions on topics to discuss in the future contact me here. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!