“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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