Leaders of today, throughout history, and of tomorrow have one thing in common: they’re all different. While we draw from and emulate certain behaviors and actions, we’re each our own person, our own leaders, and we each respond to leadership differently.
Too many of us think leaders need to adhere to a rigid specifications of qualities and skills in order to rightfully fulfill the label of “leader” but that just isn’t the case. I’m here to debunk some of the most popular misconceptions about what it takes to be a great leader, because like people, we can’t be compounded into a set list of characteristics.
At the foundation of leadership is power. While leadership puts one in a position of power, most likely ahead of a signifiant group of other individuals, this doesn’t mean this power and status should be used to served your own personal needs. Great leaders use their power to serve others, they keep their feet firmly on the ground, not to feed their own egos and greed.
Those at the top work the least. While leaders are often in charge of delegating work to others, the best ones do so in a way where the tasks match up appropriately with the individuals skills and interests. The greatest leaders will not take advantage of the workforce underneath them, and will instead work harder than anyone else.
She’s a natural born leader. We hear this phrase often, but it’s just not true. “Leadership” is not a personality trait that has been hardwired into our DNA, it’s a teachable skill that is cultivated through understanding, nurturing and experience. Anyone can be a leader if the proper tools are utilized.
Leaders are the most popular ones in the room. While some can tote their power for a favorable social standing, great leaders will make the tough, but right, decisions for the greater good, even at the expense of their own popularity.
One can’t lead without charisma. While a certain bravado attracts a large crowd and can turn innocent spectators into adoring fans, magnetic personalities aren’t a requirement in cultivating a great leader. That’s not to say it doesn’t help, but it isn’t necessary, especially considering only a certain number of people will respond to that approach to leadership. More importantly that charisma is depth of character, passion, and consistency in actions when it comes to a leader.
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