Leadership is, in its essence, the act of leading a group of people or an organization. To be in charge of them and make decisions for their well-being and growth.
However, that’s a rather plain and superficial explanation....
Because leadership consists of many more elements and it is not depleted by just being the head of a team or entity.
It means way more which results in being able to influence others to act in a specific way, rather than command them to do as such.
Do you want to find out what really lies beneath the terms “true leadership” and “true leader”?
And how you can discover and support the leader in you? Well, you are in the right place. Because anyone can be a leader in some field. All it takes is to first beat the ignorance existing around this concept and then take action toward achieving it.
And this is what this article is all about.
So, let’s roll.
What Does True Leadership Consist Of?
Are you under the impression that everyone in charge whether they are in your family, your work, your group of friends, an organization you interact with, or even your prime minister, can be considered a leader and exercising leadership?
Well, it’s time to reconsider this idea of yours. They may be the people who have the power to influence your life in a way but that power and only that is not enough to make them true leaders.
They have to have a mix of other ingredients regarding their character traits and behavior.
So, let’s have a look…
The Vital Elements of True Leadership
Vision is an integral part of leadership.
If you think small and short-term you can’t go very far, not to mention influence others in a specific direction.
True leadership comes with vision and an ambitious yet realistic approach to the future.
Mahatma Gandhi’s vision for India e.g. was of a country where people were to be treated equally regardless of their religion. And he strived to achieve that.
What about your vision for the future?
How do you imagine your life to be?
The world you live in?
Are you willing to fight for the changes you want to see?
Resilience is the key to effectively meeting professional or other life challenges and enhancing leadership performance to grow in one’s position and one’s field and to impact positively the lives of a team’s members.
If you succumb to the difficulties you meet you will soon be forced to take the back seat and leave someone else to handle things.
So, do you give up and fall into that self-pity mode when life throws you difficulties and unplanned situations?
Or do you pause, reflect and continue according to Nietzsche’s “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” motto?
Courage goes hand in hand with resilience. Standing up for yourself and what you believe regardless of the outcome is an essential element of true leadership.
Courage is one of Aristotle’s virtues and is found in the middle of cowardliness and riskiness. Neither succumbing to fear or comfort over obstacles nor making hasty or boastful decisions. However, making difficult decisions is of utmost importance.
Hercules, for instance, the famous Ancient Greek hero, wouldn’t have succeeded in any of his 12 labors if he hadn’t shown amazing reservoirs of courage; thus he wouldn’t be remembered by the entire humanity as a great leader if wasn’t for his courageous nature.
Can you detect Herculean traits in yourself?
Do you go after your goals no matter the adversities you meet or do you retreat into your comfort zone and that timid shell that can keep you safe but deprives you at the same time of your self-actualization and that exhilarating feeling of thriving?
Communicative skills are also a prerequisite.
Not only do they include finding the right words and tone to speak in every circumstance but also having empathy to sense the needs of your people – whether they are colleagues or supporters – actively listening to them without prejudice, and persuading them, not forcing them, to do their merit.
So, how do you present yourself to people?
Are you rigid with your opinions, and narrow-minded or are you open to discovering what’s on the other side through open communication?
4 More Vital Elements of True Leadership
Flexibility and easiness to adapt quickly to new conditions and situations are also important.
Not everything goes according to plan in life and for true leadership to bear fruits must have flexibility along with some plan “Bs” in the closet to face unpredictability.
This goes with resilience and courage. How flexible are you? Do you think of alternatives to face everyday life’s situations?
Are you stubbornly insisting to have things your way or are you open to meeting your needs in different ways?
Mistakes are human. And a leader is not excluded from them. But what separates true leadership from plain power is accountability and the responsibility to admit your mistakes and take proper action.
The same goes for “rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” and giving everybody their due.
True leadership has no fear of taking responsibility for any wrongdoings or for praising the good ones.
Do you take responsibility for your actions or do you tend to put the blame on others (eg. the bad weather, your spouse, your boss, the government, etc)?
7. Leading By Example
Alexander the Great, many many years ago paved the way regarding that.During his quest to conquer Asian territories and impart Asian people with the Ancient Greek spirit, had to deal with a severe challenge.
When he was passing through the desert of Gedrosia, somewhere in the land of Babylon, his army was plagued by a lack of food and water.
When some soldiers searching for water managed to find a small amount, they put it inside a helmet and immediately ran to offer it to their king, Alexander.
But, when Alexander took the helmet with the water in his hands he did not drink it, as everyone would have expected!
On the contrary! He held it up for all to see and dropped it!
Alexander’s action enlivened the soldiers so that it was as if they all drank from that helmet and thus quenched the army’s thirst!
This is what truly means leading by example. A true leader sees himself as a part of a group and not someone with explicit rights and privileges.
How about you? Do you lead by example? Do you observe yourself first and how you deal with others and what you expect from them?
Are you, as a parent expect your children to behave in a way when you behave in the opposite way? Give it some thought…
As contradictory as it may seem, humility is an integral part of true leadership. Arrogance is mostly found in dictators and “bosses”.
Humility, on the other hand, is a trait of authentic leaders.
True leaders do not get carried away by fame, money, and power. They have the innate knowledge that they are human and that every position is temporary. And this attitude helps them gain the trust of others.
Arrogance was considered “hybris” in Ancient Greek followed always by nemesis. It is also considered one of the seven deadly sins.
Are you humble? Or do you get tempted to feel superior to others?
Great Leadership: Leading One's Own Life
Does A Leader Exist In Everyone?
So, now that you know what true leadership really means and what it consists of, can you recognize these characteristics in you? In other words, could you be a leader? And can everyone be a leader?
Well, in a way yes. Research has found that only a small portion of leadership qualities is inherent. Most of it comes with education and careful observation. And it takes practice, consistency, iron will, and self-discipline.
So, if you have a basic background combined with hard work, patience, and attention to detail, it is almost certain that leadership skills will develop quickly and a great leader can be born within you.
And one that can make a difference…
Why The World Needs True Leaders?
History has proven that leaders are vital to show the way forward and predict the future.
Charisma, combined with education and leadership qualities, can create a human mind that will envision the future and think of ways to one day make that vision a reality.
This is how humanity has evolved over the centuries, and this is how we can achieve the best possible development in the future, with the means we have.
True leaders are important as they have a big impact not only on their lives but on a team’s performance also.
The inspiration and influence they generate are really important to the progress of any team or organization, in any context.
So, Are You Ready To Be The Leader Of Your Life?
Remember that leadership is not a destination – it is something you will have to work on regularly throughout your career and everyday life regardless of the level you have reached so far whether in your family, professional, social, or another field of interest.
It is a constant journey. But a highly prolific one. You get to discover yourself deeply, eliminate your “soft spots”, enhance your strong traits, and practice the virtues that bring happiness in your life.
And if you need extra help, someone to guide you up your leadership path, don’t hesitate to ask for it.
You can contact me directly for a discovery call to uncover together the leadership qualities that reside inside you and ways to build on them, to be the leader in your life!
So, sign up here, and let’s ignite your true leadership journey. Because it is a journey after all.
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