Some people have the notion of a "leader" being burdened with having to directly lead people. If you like your privacy and do not want any attention or criticism, this might not seem in keeping with leadership. Others simply think they do not have the ability to be a leader. I have decided to challenge my thinking about leadership and this led me to a course by leadership coach Ryan Angelo.
Ryan suggests that being a leader does not necessarily mean you have to get up on stage, lead the masses or be the person ‘out in front'. He talks about the many forms of leadership, emphasising that we all have innate strength in at least one of these leadership styles…
• Some leaders are powerful and dynamic; they can fearlessly compel others into action as they lead the way with strength and conviction.
• Some leaders are calm and diplomatic; they can neutralize conflict, form relationships with anyone, gain trust, and steadily create an outcome.
• Some leaders are fun and improve morale; they can entertain people and make them smile or laugh despite the challenges of life.
• Some leaders are unseen and tactful; they possess a depth of thinking and drive for perfection that can be used to improve and create much.
Every individual has unique knowledge, skills, experience etc., which can be moulded into many valuable solutions for other people. The exact moment in time that you begin to see and rely on your own strengths, talents, skills, and insights, you become an individual. An individual, by definition, possesses leadership qualities, because the individual is not influenced by the herd.
I see myself fitting in somewhere between the second and fourth styles as described here, with hopefully some ability to be fun and improve morale, but powerful and dynamic? Not so much. Hey, we can't all be Joan of Arc! But I do believe that there are some traits of leadership that we can all agree on and which we should all embrace if we hope to lead by example.
Leaders are proactive, not reactive, and always looking for ways to be creative. They take responsibility for their choices and don't blame others for their lack of success. They have vision, exhibiting a passion for their work and are faithful to their beliefs. The leader never stops learning, and displays a high level of consciousness.
In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
– Eric Hoffer (American social writer)