Are Great Leaders born or made?
Are Great Leaders born or made?
Great leaders can be born, but they can also be made.
To be a great leader is quite a skill. Great leaders inspire and influence us to do our best work, to build amazing teams and to achieve business goals. However, leading others is challenging. Just ask parents or school teachers. Humans are diverse, complicated and difficult, and can throw you a curve ball at any time.
Great leaders understand this, and continually focus on ways to improve the success of the individuals, as well as the whole team, the business unit and the organisation.
Explore your Leadership Potential
Every one of us has the potential to become a great leader. To enable you to lead effectively, you can learn the skills required to persuade, influence and inspire others.
If you have been elevated to a leadership position, you need to understand the difference between being a leader and a manager. Managers direct staff to follow company rules and systems to achieve the company vision. Leaders inspire and influence their teams by showing them how the company vision will make them better people. Great leaders motivate others to do their best work.
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done, because he wants to do it – Dwight Eisenhower
Be your Personal Best
When you are placed in a leadership role, you need to demonstrate the traits of a great leader. These include:
– positive thinking
– having confidence in your abilities
– excellent communication skills – both verbal and non-verbal
– performance management skills
– decision making ability
– serving as a role model for your team members
– being passionate about the projects you work on
– trying new things
– and always, always learning
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John F. Kennedy
Communicate your Vision
True leaders are visionaries, often noted for innovations within an organisation or industry.
A Vision is a leader’s ideas and plans for the future of the organisation, which shows you how it will be different from today. Being a Visionary is an important part of being a great leader, as it gives your people something to strive for. It gives them a view beyond today, and into the future of the organisation.
I will lead at the intersection of art and technology – Steve Jobs
Lead People through Change
Great leaders need to be key decision makers, who are capable of initiating and managing change within their organisations. As a change agent, you should have the drive and the skills to follow your Vision and disrupt current business processes and routines if required. If you can see new ways to improve performance, increase profits, and contribute to the growth and success of your organisation, then you should be the one who can make that difference.
A Leader’s job is to look into the future and see the organisation, not as it is, but as it should be – Jack Welch
Fast Fact: During Jack Welch’s tenure as CEO of General Electric, its value increased 4,000%.
You as a Team Leader
Leaders play an integral role in employee satisfaction. A strong relationship between leaders and their team members creates the basis for a productive, growing organisation. You need to be genuinely interested in your team members and be an effective listener, so you know their needs, expectations and desires. Make them feel important. Set the bar high for your team, then let them know you believe in their ability to succeed. Focus on inspiring and guiding them towards your common goals, build them up, give them credit when due, and praise and reward them when they succeed.
Remember that we are all human. If you are wrong, or make a mistake, be honest and humble enough to admit it. You also need to respect other people’s ideas and opinions and try to see things from their point of view. You may find that you learn something.
Fast Fact: Did you know that 83% of employees agree that recognition or praise from their leader was more fulfilling than financial rewards.
Create your Action Plan
When you first move into a leadership role, it pays to do a self-assessment, then draft a plan for where you would like to be in 6-12 months from now.
This plan can include:
- Identifying the skills you need to strengthen
- Setting goals for your development as a leader
- Seeking challenging and varied experiences
- Planning Leadership training
- Asking for feedback from both your team and the stakeholders in your organisation
- Finding yourself mentors and coaches
A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. – Douglas MacArthur
The topics covered here are drawn from the CTO Training Course – Learning to Lead.
If you are ready for Leadership training, visit the CTO website to receive a quote or make a booking. Training can be provided for up to 8 trainees for the same investment cost.