Leadership. Well, how would the world have been without it? In the context of business, across geographical borders, across cultures, across generations and across organizations of all kinds, if there is one quality that no business can do without, it is leadership. Why is leadership so highly rated and thought about? Give me a few minutes, I’ll tell you the truth about leadership.
To get to the truth about leadership, let us get to the root of the issue: understanding leadership. So, what is this quality that the entire world clamors for? Leadership is the skill or the art of leading people and organizations. This sounds simple; yet, in practical application, it means a lot. Why? Because this is not something everyone can do. It requires a very special ability to do so. That is the skill of leadership.
Truth about leadership
#1: Leaders can be made; they are not necessarily born
One discussion that comes up often when it comes to leadership is if leaders are born or are made. Participants on both sides of the camp are almost equally vociferous in their claim. Those who argue that leadership is a talent from above and that no honing or training will be of any use cite many examples of how people with no effort or training become leaders, while many others toil a lifetime and don’t quite make it.
While on the surface this could be true, the fact is, leadership can be cultivated. With the right orientation, learning and influence, people with no natural ability for leadership can also become leaders. It is something like becoming a sportsman. If talent and nothing else is the sole quality for becoming successful at sports, how do you account for the fact that alongside a genius like Roger Federer, we have also had much less talented, but almost equally successful champions such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic? This points to the fact that although it is easier to make it for people born with the gift of leadership; those without it can also get there and be successful with the right ingredients that make a person successful.
#2: Leaders never micromanage
If you thought your boss is a leader but find him peering over your monitor to inspect for himself what you are doing, you are mistaken about him. He is no leader. He is a boss. Leaders have so much faith in their team that they delegate meaningfully and leave it to the team to carry out the work. They are the not the type who will keep stopping by every now and then to see what is happening at every stage.
#3: Leaders inspire the rest
This is one of the prime qualities of being a leader. Leaders not only take the initiative and lead from the front; they inspire the others to follow. Again, they do not necessarily require the others to tread their path but encourage them to carve one of their own. Leaders realize that each individual has her own abilities and style of doing things. They don’t impose their style or method on anyone. They show the path and leave it to the others to tread their own.
#4: Leaders are honest communicators
Communication is one of the essential qualities of leadership. Strong and effective leaders communicate openly and honestly, be it about pointing your flaw or letting you know what is happening in the organization or anything else. They don’t hold back unless it is really warranted.