According to the Business Dictionary, a leader is a person who holds a dominant or superior position within a field and is able to exercise a high degree of control or influence over others. Typically, social influence is utilized to maximize the efforts of members, gearing towards a common goal.
That definition is not entirely accurate, because control alone is not what makes a leader a good leader. A lot more goes into good leadership. To start with, Leaders can (and should) be beacons of change. Here are a few more things you should know about good leadership.
1. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes
There is no one type of leadership, good leaders come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, there are formal and informal leaders. Formal leaders are the ones we elect in offices or positions, like the politicians we choose to represent us. Informal leaders are people we look up to because of their wisdom and experience. Both formal and informal leaders practise a combination of leadership styles. But even amongst formal and informal leaders, there is no one standard rule for what a leader is going to be like – even the most unassuming person can turn out to be a great leader.
2. Leadership is a process
There are some people who are naturally endowed with leadership abilities, but that doesn’t mean those born without leadership skills can’t learn to become one. There are lots of people who have no previous leadership experience, but stepped into roles of leadership. Possessing traits and qualities like being proactive, level-headed and open minded, and a lifetime of education, are vital in becoming a good leader. Leadership can be learned.
3. Good leadership starts with you
The word leader comes from the root word “lead”. A leader is someone who goes first and leads by example, therefore making motivating people to follow suit. This is actually a basic requirement of good leadership – good leaders lead by example.
4. Good leadership is shared
The goal in a group cannot be achieved alone, without other people’s help. This is actually true for any and all big goals. Effective leadership requires everyone in the team to do their share of the work, and do it well. A key function of a good leader then becomes facilitating the team to do their roles well.
5. Leadership styles depend on the situation
In the same way there is no one type of leader, there is no one universal or “best” style of leadership. In fact, there are lots of different leadership styles. A leader can act as a coach, wherein the leader recognizes the members’ strengths and weaknesses. A leader can implement the authoritarian style of leadership, one that focuses mostly on results and efficiency. The Laissez-faire or hands-off style leadership involves delegating tasks to members and providing little to no supervision. There are more. A leader’s style of leadership is based on factors like experience and personality. Every leader is different.
Leadership is a key skill to master if you want to do anything significant, or even if your goal is something more practical and immediate like career progression. Understanding these five things about good leadership can help. If you’ve ever doubted your ability to become a good leader, realise that anyone can become a good leader – it is a skill that can be learned. Not all great leaders were born with natural leadership skills.
What’s your take on good leadership? Do you have any tips on good leadership to share?
Share your thoughts and suggestions on good leadership in the comments section below.
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