Some say leaders are born, others say leaders are thrust into positions of leadership and find their way, and some say leadership can be learned through life.  I like to believe in the third postulate.  Developing leadership is something that comes from life experience.   Go ahead and believe in fairy tales of magical leadership qualities that come from birth – I don’t.   There’s a lot to be said about leadership and what it is that makes a leader that’s more important than anything else.

A leader is someone who respects the people around him or her.   Every individual on the team has a talent or a special skill that makes that individual stand out.  It’s up to a true leader to understand that and find that skill and use it to the advantage of the team and at the same time make the individual feel like he can contribute. 

A leader can evoke a sense of team spirit and can get members of a team to perform at levels they did not know they were capable of.   A good leader will get to understand everyone on his or her team and get to know what motivates them.   This provides a leader with fuel to drive each member of the team to perform at peak levels.

No one can give leadership to one person and expect a team to respect that leadership.   Instead, a leader needs to gain the respect of his or her team.   This level of respect needs to be earned through action and example, not through bestowal of authority.

No one can give a leader the title of leadership without the leader knowing that this great responsibility is something that must be earned.   Developing leadership is a tough job to take on for those who don’t know enough about themselves to understand what it would take to motivate and move others to action.  A leader must be one who thinks on his or her own and can make decisions.   The ability to make decisions quickly and decisively is something that leaders can do on a daily basis.

If someone demands a leadership role, they must at least be vetted by other leaders.   All leaders need to be able to trust each other and know that each leader can get a job done when asked to do so.   This means putting the right people and all the right resources in the right direction in order to get a job done or completing a mission.   This is not obvious to every leader, so having that ability could put you above others in this regard.  If there’s any doubt in your leadership abilities, you need to seek counsel from other leaders or from upper management in developing leadership skills in yourself.  It’s important to know that help is available for leaders.

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