Leadership ability is about pulling together one’s understanding of self and others and integrating that within a framework of values, ethics, and culture. It is about drawing upon one’s inner core of discipline and persistence to empower others to do great things while setting the example of doing great things our self.
Our ability to be a leader is inherent within us and is the sum total of our experiences and abilities. It is also closely correlated to our ability to lead ourselves. If we are competent in our self-discipline, in creating goals, actions and plans, and then following through on what we say we intend to do, this often translates into an ability to lead. If we can’t do it for ourselves, we rarely can do it for others.
Are people born with the ability to lead? Personally, I don’t believe that. I believe that we do have certain personality characteristics or traits which are naturally aligned with being a leader. These, combined with validating experiences, that is, learning from life successes and failures, are what provide the foundation of a leader’s ability. The influences and inputs are many and complex and intricately woven together.
Stepping up and taking responsibility for what we think, say and do, is the most fundamental of leadership qualities. Applying these to societal issues, whether at home, church, or in the corporation, is what really “trains” us for being a leader. We learn in action – demonstrating what we’re made of each and every day.
What characteristics stand out when you evaluate your leadership abilities? What are your strongest qualities? Which ones might need more work? Who do you know who might mentor you to develop these qualities further? What types of projects, causes, or actions can you take part in to develop your leadership skills in new areas?
“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” — Kenneth Blanchard
Tara Kachaturoff is the creator, producer and host of Michigan Entrepreneur TV, a weekly television talk show featuring business leaders and businesses from start-up to stellar. With over 15 years of experience in corporate finance in the tech sector, she now coaches executives, business professionals, and entrepreneurs on leadership, management, productivity, and marketing issues. Tara is also the author of 21 Qualities of a Leader from which this article is excerpted.