Ultimate Guide To Learning Leadership7 mins - Introduction
Leadership is a complex topic because there are so many ways in which an individual can lead others. Throughout history, we’ve seen inspirational leaders, and some that caused more harm than good, but what exactly is leadership?
Type the words into Google and you’ll see this description: The action of leading a group or organization. This mere concept doesn’t explore the complexity of leadership and the personality traits one must have to become a leader.
The Traits of a Leader
With so many definitions of leadership, it’s clear we all have varying views on what makes a good leader. However, there are certain character traits that go towards leading others effectively.
When we’re self-aware, we understand how our behavior affects others and can maintain professional and personal boundaries. This is important when leading others because people respond to respect. There’s a difference between a leader and dictator, which we’ll go into later, but people with leadership qualities note their surroundings.
Confidence is one of the most important personality traits an individual can have. It makes us more attractive to others, improves our assertiveness and enables us to make decisions. An individual without confidence will never be a leader, but a follower.
We define empathy as understanding the feelings of others and being able to put yourself in someone else’s place. In fact, those who don’t possess this vital skill can be powerful leaders, but only through fear. If you want to succeed as a leader, then empathy is essential.
Imagine having a group of people at your command, and you’ll see why power goes to some peoples heads. A famous experiment by Dr.Zimbardo once showed that when people are in a position of power, they often forget to treat others as human beings. However, power in most cases in subjective to whether people want to follow you.
These are just some personality traits great leaders possess, and how such characteristics have shaped societies. Let’s look back at some of the best and worst leaders society has ever seen.
Leadership In History
Human beings are born to be social creatures and we have a natural hierarchy. Leaders aren’t just King’s, Queens and Politicians, as history has shown us. In fact, some of the greatest leaders have been at the bottom of the sociological hierarchy and risen through the respect of others. Martin Luther King was an African American man who lead his people to equality, although the country was segregated. Other infamous leaders include Joan of Arc and Gandhi.
The Evolution of Leadership Studies
People have been interested in leadership for centuries, but it became a topic of study in the 20th Century. Since then, many theories have been developed and leadership continues to fascinate people. While there are far too many to cover, here are some of the most popular theories.
Leaders We Can Learn From
Some leaders teach us that power should never go to your head. Two classic examples include Adolph Hitler and Cambodian leader Pol Pot, who is responsible for the countries genocide. There are some wonderful examples of strong leaders, who represent how it should be done.
George Washington is the founding father of the United States of America. His vision and commitment to his people meant that centuries later, he’s still regarded for his leadership ability. Winston Churchill is the most famous British Prime Minister and lead the country to success during World War II.
Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi weren’t born into positions of privilege or power. Instead, they had to ensure many hardships before becoming great leaders. What makes them stand out is their dedication to both their countries and the people. Mandela and Gandhi showed true leadership qualities, which is why they rose to prominent positions.
These are just some of the worlds greatest leaders, but history is built upon the endeavors of others and each leader can teach us a lesson.
Becoming a Great Leader
Some people are born with the traits that make them great leaders, but anyone can learn to exhibit these characteristics with some work. Here are some ways you can improve your leadership skills.
Leading others is a never-ending process, so don’t get too comfortable! If you expect others to follow you, then setting an example is important. Read books from leaders, speak to your staff and find out what bothers them. Development isn’t just about building your professional skills, it’s also important to work on your interpersonal skills.
Times can be hard, and it’s inevitable that an organization will struggle at some point. However, as a leader, you can’t show your worries to others. Not only does positivity set a good example for others, but it also motivates them to achieve more.
A good leader wants others to grow professionally and personally. It’s your job to ensure they have the skills to succeed and provide staff training. Whatever happens in your organization reflects on your skills as a leader, so it’s essential you set clear targets and delegate tasks.
If you don’t believe in what you’re doing then will others? Every single leader who has made an impact in history was passionate about their cause. Some people believe the boardroom isn’t a place for emotions, but positivity, passion, and enthusiasm are central to motivating your team.
Pave The Way
We know that great leaders exhibit dominant traits, but one thing that defines a good leader from a bad one is how much they’re willing to share. Leadership is about giving others the opportunity to grow and build on their skills. If you want to shape lives and make a difference, then you could be a great leader. Remember, those who seek power are often the most powerless so concentrate on giving instead of receiving. Who knows, maybe one day your name will be among the Churchill’s, Caeser’s and Mandela’s!