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What makes the great leader stand out from others?
Thu, 18 Jun 2009 11:56
A leader becomes great because he or she leads from the heart. They are themselves and are not trying to be what others want them to be.
This is true in so many ways, it is actually quite frightening - yet so many managers fail to realise and accept this fact.
Looking back through history if you ask yourself who the great leaders were you will find one common trait. They were all leaders who believed in themselves, believed in their personal values and had strong personal beliefs.
They led from the heart and created an environment where others wanted to follow them because they were able to instil confidence in their leadership abilities.
These leaders did not try in any way to change the thinking of others. No attempt was made to change the thinking of their opponents. They accepted that others had different opinions and were entitled to them.
They listened to and permitted others to express personal opinions even though they were contrary to their own. They then spoke with conviction of their own personal beliefs and over time created an environment where those who thought differently wanted to follow their lead.
Great leaders are naturally and instinctively capable people. They demonstrate their ability to be held responsible. Most importantly they are prepared to be held accountable.
The great leader believes in him/her self and knows deep down they are capable of performing the tasks, functions and duties related to a position or task. They believe and know they are capable of doing the job and have already demonstrated ability and competency in many other situations in life or business.
These qualities will already be evident to others and that is why others will want to follow.
The great leader has taken the time to gain knowledge of the company, its values, mission and objectives and this is known to others. For this reason the leader is capable of commanding the respect of others.
Great leaders know how to deal with authority and do not allow it to go to their heads. They are humble and accept authority graciously while at the same time accepting the authority of others.
Such leaders realised in the past that "those would lead must first learn to obey". Great leaders lead from the front and get results with and through others.
Great leaders do not come up with excuses or make claims such as "I was not given authority." If a great leader feels he or she has not been given the authority the will automatically assume authority, accept responsibility and be prepared to be held accountable.
Great leaders realise there is no room in management for individuals who are not prepared to accept authority, willing to assume authority, or who refuse to acknowledge the authority of others.
When a great leader assumes responsibility it is natural for them to accept they will be held accountable. This is the true sign of a great leader.
When the leader makes decisions he/she is prepared to take responsibility for those decisions and accept he/she will be held accountable.
These abilities can be developed over time and can be improved upon with training, coaching and mentoring. Be developing these traits a manager can become a good leader but will he/she ever become great?
The answer to this lies in the hands of two people - the person him/her self and the person's manager in a business environment.
Management has a responsibility to learn as much as possible about each individual and to allow each individual to grow and blossom. Holding a person back, not allowing her to develop, destroying and putting down innovative thinking, is to me, criminal and unforgivable.
Yet it happens so often. Employees are sometimes seen as a threat to their managers and for this reason are held back and denied the right to grow. These potentially, could be the great leaders I refer to above.
A person who believes he/she has the ability to become great must do everything in his/her power to promote and advertise the abilities they possess. They must do this by self belief, living by their personal values, standing up for their principles and by allowing others to follow naturally.
They must automatically start leading from the front in an unassuming manner. They must do what they believe to be right at all times.
The great potential leader must create an environment of trust and an environment where others want to follow because of what they see before them - a person worthy of my support and trust.
Des Squire - Applied Management Studies international (Pty) Ltd - 011 646 9369
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