Leadership is one of those buzzwords that everyone talks about.
If, at a dinner party, you asked people to name a great leader, most people would be able to come up with a few names.
The identified leaders could include a religious leader, a political leader, a sport leader, a philanthropic leader, a scouts leader and so many others.
Leadership can be defined as the ability to motivate, build and inspire a team (or a group of people) towards achieving shared goals and vision.
While in the past, leadership was closely associated with power or force – think of military leadership, modern leadership is about creating a safe space where people are highly motivated and inspired to give their best for the shared vision.
We can safely say that modern leadership is also about empathy and the ability to make deep connections with others.
Why is leadership important?
All human beings have purpose and goals in life.
However, a lot of people feel scared and overwhelmed by their own ambitions and find themselves in a state of inaction and apathy. It is no surprise that they end up giving up on their aspirations to live a life of just ‘getting by’ rather than achieving their full potential.
It is no wonder that a lot of people sadly question what their purpose in life is.
Leadership is about overcoming – and inspiring others to overcome – the negative feelings causing inaction and becoming proactive towards accomplishing common goals.
What skills does a leader have?
While leaders can and do have different leadership styles, there are common traits among them:
Leaders have vision
One of the most important aspects of leadership is to create a clear vision and to work towards it.
Leaders have great communication skills (articulated)
Leaders can powerfully articulate their vision and what actions need to be taken by all.
Leaders are action-takers
Leaders can map ‘the path’ towards their goal into small achievable actions. More importantly, they take actions and inspire others to do the same.
Leaders not only motivate and inspire others, but they also know how to ‘read the environment’ and how to motivate people accordingly. Leadership is about bringing the best out of people and leaders understand how to inspire people to do so.
Leaders have empathy
Leaders are often capable of creating a safe environment where people feel comfortable and have the skills to express themselves. Leaders are ‘people’s persons’.
Leaders are givers
Great leaders understand and inspire others to become leaders. They understand that life is not a ‘zero-sum’ game. Most leaders have life coaches and mentors themselves who they can rely upon for motivation and inspiration.
Can anyone become a leader?
The short answer is yes. However, not many people get there.
Leadership is often misunderstood as something you are born with or not.
Another common misconception is to think leadership is something that happens to ‘lucky’ people who have been ‘assigned’ a leader’s role. While, in the past, there could be some truth to this – due to how power dynamics in society worked, the world is moving fast and leaders are those who can inspire others rather than ‘force’ others towards a goal.
Going back to our original question, leadership can be learned and everyone can develop the skills necessary to become leaders. Nevertheless, it is important to highlight that learning and developing leadership skills takes time and commitment.
Are there downsides to being a leader?
Being a leader involves responsibility, hard work and strong dedication.
Imagine when a problem or something unexpected happens. Who is the go-to person? Not only are leaders the go-to person, they often welcome people to approach them in the face of adversity.
Are men natural born leaders?
The short answer is no – as mentioned before, leadership is not an innate talent. Hence, no one is a natural born leader.
Historically, society has put an enormous pressure on men to lead the way in many areas. However, many men find themselves not prepared – because they have not yet learned the skills – to become a real leader. It is no surprise that men can have serious mental health issues.
Can life coaches help with leadership training?
Yes, absolutely right! Life coaches are trained to work with people who want to achieve their goals in life – that includes leadership goals.