“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn
If we think carefully, leaders from any field (like science, business, politics, social media) whom we admire most not because of their achievements but their actions inspire us to dream more and work hard to achieve the dream. Our leaders have reached us at an emotional level.
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Leadership is an ability to touch and inspire people. Not everyone can be a leader. Some people have inborn talent to be a leader but many of us are short of being a natural born star. The leadership skill can be acquired, honed and perfected. Whether you learn from the wisdom of others or get insights from personal experience, becoming a more effective leader is about what you do, not what know.
Following are some guidelines to be a good leader:
Emotional intelligence: Great leaders can understand the unstated needs and desires of people. Therefore, they can empathize every easily and hence can inspire people. When people feel they are understood, they respond, and a bond is formed.
Continuous learning: A great leader always has a curiosity and a strong desire to do better. They are rarely satisfied with their knowledge and always eager to acquire new knowledge and explore new horizons. Leadership is all about investing in you.
Contextualize: Great leaders accept each challenge as new. Because they know all situations are not same. What worked in one situation may be useless in another. Therefore, they treat each situation differently.
Let Go: Most people think that leadership is about control. However, leadership is about influence, guidance and support. Great leaders inspire and then make way for new leaders they don’t stagnate. They stay away from interfering. They just offer guidance and support whenever needed.
Honesty: We always hear that so-called leaders are losing credibility because he or she was dishonest. We are now in the age of extraordinary transparency, which is reason enough to always be true to your core – your mission will be revealed, your motivations will show by your behaviors. There is always an issue to set example. If you have a reputation for honesty, it will be a lot easier to deliver bad news and face tough challenges. If you have an image of honesty, you can easily inspire people.
Kindness and respect: Nice leaders finish first repeatedly. Arrogance and ignorance are leadership killers. They are also a mark of insecurity. Treating everyone with a basic level of respect is an absolute must trait of leadership, and kindness is the gift that keeps on giving back. There are people who do not deserve respect and they must be dealt differently. However, that job will be made much easier, and will have far less impact on your organization, if you have a reputation for kindness, honesty and respect.
Partner with your people: People’s careers are a big part of their lives. Find out what are their career goals or goals in their life. Then do everything you can do to help them. This builds a mark of respect. Even if it means they will eventually leave you. People do not mind a tough leader if the leader has the capability to make them successful. You will gain happiness. This is an opportunity to brand your greatness.
Keep promises: Never make promises you are not sure you can keep. Nothing kills your credibility quicker than a breached promise or unfulfilled expectation.
Dress to influence: Do not dress to impress, dress to influence. That means making sure your appearance is consistent with your personal and professional brand. Begin by asking yourself how a leader with your aspirations should appear to others.
Leadership is both an art and a science. Above mentioned are guidelines, not rules. Everyone must develop his or her own individual leadership style. Use them to reach people on an emotional level. Be Human. That is important.