At some point in our life, we all have been or can become leaders. We serve as leaders of our sleeping places, jobs, communities, and our families. Though for many, being a leader means having the power to control others; those who carry this view eventually find that the more they try to control people, the less influence they have over them.
For others, leadership means being in a position of authority.
Yet, a person can be a leader even if he/she is on the bottom of the totem pole. When a person sees that something good needs to be done, he or she will not let a mere lack of position limit him/her from taking charge. A natural leader steps into the gap and occupies the unoccupied space thus assuming necessary responsibility.
True leadership is not about superiority, position, or prestige; it is about service and adding value where need be. Leadership is about revealing and releasing the potential of those around you. Leadership is not about one feared powerful individual, but the skill to identify and facilitate the greatness that is hidden in many people.
Unfortunately, a good number of people nowadays slough off leadership responsibilities either because of laziness or apathy. They would rather live a life of ease as others shoulder the responsibility. This type of comfort needs to be evaluated because if the world has to continue well on the course of transformation; someone somewhere has to step on its accelerator.
The book of Genesis says “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth” Genesis 1:29. Today the world is looking for people who are ready to stay virtuous, consistent, and committed. Leadership is school in which the whole of humanity is welcome to enroll itself.
Here are a few skills ready to make you an effective leader
- An effective leader has the resolve to see every task through to the end. Resolve is possible when one is a careful listener. The moment the storm is allowed in; then confusion starts. Resolve is like a soft silent breeze that allows peace to take the seat of decision making. Only those who fear the obvious have the option of shouting instead of dialogue. It is not the much noise that moves things but the courage to see, judge, and act. In any doubtful situation, there will be an opportunity for retreat, an escape hatch, the chance to avoid mistakes. In some cases, a capable leader will accept defeat to secure those is leading to the safe side. Defeat is far much better than risk because one has an opportunity to plan well while eying the better option and most times for a greater reward.
- A leader knows the difference between making a choice and grabbing an opportunity. A natural leader makes choices between several opportunities while aiming at a higher good. A normal resolve has no regrets because, at the time of choosing it, it was the best and right offer possible. A leader never allows terrible grips of indecision to seize him/her. An effective leader remains cool, levelheaded, and unflappable before challenges. A leader does not need to be loud or to yell simply because is attempting to cover personal lack of grit over lost opportunities. A leader is a person with sound resolutions who grants confidence among those who are leading. While the world around goes to relax, this person knows what mission is and the hand he/she calmly fulfils it. Such a person is the anchor in the storm.
- Sure steps that a leader can never miss. To become a leader, you don’t need to wait for a crisis in emerging to make a decision. An emerging leader catalogues values meditate goals and set a plan on how you to react in case a crisis arises and which important decisions need to be made for the good of the majority. A natural leader does not wait to choose the heat of the moment with the danger of being tempted to surrender values.
- A leader needs the stamina to take risks. If nothing is ventured into, then nothing is gained. Great achievements come to those who are willing to take risks. A leader who continually plays it safe will never put themselves or the people they lead in a position to experience success. A life without risks is surely alluring, but it does not reward. A Leader is a person who stands at the crossroads of decision, tempted by the possible reward and yet paralyzed by the fear of defeat, yet such a person never surrenders. Without failure, one will never know the real self, most especially the limits, potential, and what is capable of doing. A person who never dares greatly fails to see that he/she has taken the greatest risk of never progressing at all. In life, every person has to be aware of what is worthy. The fear of taking risks can be very real. You cannot expect to have the courage to take a large risk when you have had no experience taking small ones. To find opportunities in your daily life to take little risks. It could be as small as approaching a stranger and striking up a conversation. Find an activity that startles you, like public speaking, and go for it. As you venture more risks, you develop the capacity to overcome your fear and gain the wisdom to know when a risk is worth taking. You will achieve the mettle to take the big risk when your leadership abilities are truly called upon.
- A leader shares in rewards with subordinates . A leader, although supremely confident, humbly acknowledges that no success no matter how small it may appear can be completed alone. A leader is deeply grateful to all those who have played a part in the achievement. This person understands human nature seeks appreciation even when it is a mere thank you. When a group or an organization succeeds, their leader makes it a priority to appreciate them publicly for their contribution. When a person sees that gesture from a leader, next time, he/she will be willing to do more.
- A leader is ready to take the blame when things go wrong. It is when things go wrong that true leaders are separated from the pretenders. The weasel leader will gladly accept the tribute when the team succeeds but will find another individual to take the fall when things get tough. When followers see this, it completely demolishes any confidence and allegiance to that leader. A leader will take responsibility for all consequences and decisions, even the bad ones. Even when the results were the fault of a subordinate, a leader will assume the blame. Perhaps the leader failed to communicate clearly what the subordinate’s duty was, or maybe the leader failed to match the right person with the right job. After taking responsibility for the results, an effective leader will immediately take action to correct the situation. When taking the blame, he/she does so sincerely. The confession springs from a genuine belief that the fault was also provoked by him or her. At the same time, a leader never plays the part of the martyr to seek glory for taking the fall. Likewise, he never takes the blame publically, but then later turns to subordinates to say that the only reason he/she took responsibility was to save their faces. This is a falsehood that deteriorates public trust.
Throughout history, great leaders had moments of supreme success and moments of a devastating defeat. Great leaders focus on the things they can change and influence, where the past is not a priority on their agenda. A leader who continually dwells on past success shows that he/she has not set an eye on greater things. Ancient Greeks teach us that leaders’ hubris can quickly become their downfall. A leader always stays humble and hungry to achieve more and better. In your attempt to become a leader, read the life history of Jesus Christ from the gospels. By doing so, you will learn that even the best leaders faced enormous challenges.
Fr Paulino Mondo