As a Leadership Coach I am looking for ways of helping people grow in their leadership. Many people believe the old adage that leaders are born, not made, but a lot more people are beginning to acknowledge that in some cases, leaders are made and not necessarily born. True, there are some inherent characteristics that we are born with that may make us more likely to exhibit leadership qualities but that is not to say that all good leaders are born with these qualities. A lot of leadership behaviour can be learned if the environment and opportunities are right.
There are many definitions of leadership. For me, the simplest and most empowering is this – “leadership is influence”. Many of us think that one has to have a title or be in a certain position in order to lead. Wrong on both counts. We all have the opportunity to lead each day, first to lead ourselves, and then to lead others. It is just that some positions provide opportunities to influence more people than others. In each case however, leadership is still happening, just on different scales.
The parent who serves as a role model for their son or daughter; the teacher who inspires the student; the employer who trains and develops their employees are all influencing other people and therefore providing some form of leadership to them. Even when the intention to lead is not there, people are still being influenced by your words and actions, and therefore in some way being led by you.
Having established that leadership is influence and that everyone is called to lead in some way or the other, how then can we become better leaders? The following are a few helpful tips.
· First learn to lead yourself. This involves discipline – managing your time and resources well, holding yourself accountable and striving always to improve yourself.
· Second recognise the people that you have influence over. Who is learning from you? Who is watching you?
· Thirdly, be more intentional about the influence that you exert over others. Make sure it is a positive one. Recognise and take advantage of opportunities to encourage, challenge and support the people around you. Create opportunities for growth where you can. Hold people when they fall and give them hope that they can succeed.
· Finally, show them how to lead others. A leader is only really successful when they are reproducing even better leaders than themselves.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams
SELF LEADERSHIP TIPS
1. Set goals for yourself in keeping with your values and dreams
2. Take initiative. Be bold and willing to risk failure. After all failure is not final, unless you quit.
3. Be a person of integrity.
4. Take responsibility for your actions. Do away with excuses.
5. Be a lifelong learner. Be willing to change and keep developing.