What gives someone the right and the ability to lead? What makes an effective leader?
There is a common misconception that in order to become a leader you must have been born a leader. Somehow the qualities and abilities of a leader are bestowed upon you by divine right or pre-determined fate. That you either are a leader or you’re a follower and that you merely have to discover which is true for you. There couldn’t be anything further from the truth. Although it is true that the world needs both leaders and followers and that at any point in our life we can be one or the other (or both), becoming a leader, like anything else in life is a choice and being a successful leader means having the desire and commitment to developing the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities required to inspire people to give 100% to a cause.
So what is a leader and what does he do? A leader guides, inspires and energizes people to achieve more than even they thought possible. A leader allows people to utilize their strengths, creativity and talents for a common purpose in a way that motivates and creates pride in the task, the achievement, the job, and in the organization. A leader achieves his outcomes through people…not at the expense of people. A leader inspires confidence, trust and loyalty, through his character, integrity and through his actions…But mostly a leader does the right thing, even when no one is watching.
Understanding leadership is important because in this day and age, self reliance and taking control of our own destiny has become essential to our quality of life. The leadership landscape is changing and effective leaders need to change with it. Autonomy has become the buzzword of the new millennium. People know longer want to have someone telling them how to do their jobs or how to live their lives every step of the way. The leader is now the servant, simply providing the necessary environment for people to excel.
So what is a leadership? The answer is not as complicated as we may like to believe; leadership is the art and science of influencing an individual or group toward the achievement of a predetermined outcome, or in the words of the great Dwight Eisenhower, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
Everyone of us has opportunities to lead. Whether it be at home, in our community, in our career or just within ourselves, we are all leaders in some way shape or form. Leading by example, through ones actions is the only truely effective leadership style that cannot fail. So even if you don’t believe that you are a leader…act like one.
Ray Bertani is the Managing Director and Founder of Cura Solutions, a Human Resources Consultancy and Leadership and Personal Develpment Firm located in the Metro Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada. They work with organizations to maximize their bottom line results through innovative and progressive human resources practices and training and development initiatives.