What does it mean to be a great leader? While some can agree on a few generalized ideals, such as setting aside your ego to empower others to find success, there is no one right definition. Too often, experts are quick to share their thoughts and opinions on how to be a great leader. It’s a big business – Amazon has over 60,000 books on leadership! Becoming a great leader isn’t necessarily something that’s learned from a book. It requires more than a simple checklist of tasks. Instead, it takes innovation and creativity to raise a person’s performance to a higher level. Leaders inspire and unify individuals under a clear vision and goal. Authors and motivational speakers are quick to tell you what leadership means. However, to truly understand what distinguishes leaders from followers, you must look within yourself.
Leadership doesn’t come from your position
Being in a position of leadership doesn’t make you a leader. It has nothing to do with your role, job title, or seniority. And it doesn’t matter your place in the organizational structure of a business or where you stand within your community. If you can help others to push beyond their capabilities and achieve great things, you’re a leader. A leader doesn’t focus on power. Instead, their focus is on relationships. Leadership is about connecting with people from different backgrounds, motivations, and ways of thinking. Even if you don’t have a staff or a team reporting to you, it’s still possible to be a leader by influencing others.
Leadership needs innovation
Going with the flow doesn’t generally get you anywhere. If you only do what’s always been done, how can you expect to make any progress? Instead of settling for what might be good enough, challenge the results and push for something better. Creating a better future requires innovative solutions. Real innovation requires having the vision to see the possibilities without limits. If you desire change and can encourage others to explore new possibilities, you’re on the right track.
Leadership isn’t about you
True leaders strive to elevate others on their journey. Ego and pride can get in the way of letting other people have their moment in the spotlight. If this is a challenge, you must learn how to drop your ego, personal agenda, and desire for praise. As a leader, empowering people and aligning them with opportunities for success is your greatest strength. It doesn’t have anything to do with a specific character trait. You don’t even have to be liked as a person to lead others. What does matter is going beyond your limited abilities and allowing others to step in and carry the torch. To empower others, look outside of your personal achievements. Invite others on the journey to create something greater than what’s available right now. Focusing on the possibilities can bring you closer to the vision.
Leadership comes from the heart
Not all leaders are born with the gift. Some can develop the skills and leverage their abilities along the way. Primarily, it comes from the heart. If you have a passion for achieving great things by unlocking the potential of people around you, it can be done.
It takes the mindset of a servant to empower others selflessly. It takes strategy and results-oriented thought. And it takes a desire to achieve miraculous change without actively seeking any reward for it. If you’re looking to grow your leadership skills, here are a few traits to keep in mind.
- Integrity – Being honest and upright is an important attribute. It leads to credibility, and that attracts the trust of others. Having consistency in your actions, morals, expectations, and outcomes verify the quality of your character.
- Problem-solving – It’s okay if you don’t always have the answers. Even if you think you know the solution, it’s better to guide a person to the answer rather than solving the problem for them. Equipping people with the right tools sharpens their skills and empowers them to grow.
- Attitude – Having a positive outlook isn’t always easy. Your attitude sets the tone for everyone around you and can impact the level of results your team achieves. Focusing on passion and enthusiasm in the direst situations can inspire others to do the same.
It’s a great art to lead others to make positive changes. To develop the potential for leadership or to grow your skills as a leader, keep in mind that it isn’t about titles. Instead, it’s about attracting followers. People are your most valuable asset. Mastering the skills necessary to attract and develop those around you takes practice. It takes a passion and strength that can only come from the heart.