For as long as leaders have led, we have wondered if their abilities are the result of mystical forces or if they have learned their skill. When we see a craftsman at work, we often believe we can duplicate their accomplishments. Those with keen technical skills are often categorized as “seasoned” or “experienced”.
For artists or musicians, it’s often difficult to see what they do differently from everyone else. Therefore, we assume they have some intangible quality that cannot be easily categorized and therefore, cannot be learned. When we encounter a strong leader, it’s often difficult to describe what they have; we just know it is something different from all the rest.
Regardless of whether leadership is innate or learned, there are a few qualities that often differentiate exceptional leaders for others; they are qualities we can all adopt in order to develop our leadership potential.
Be right. Successful leaders believe what they are doing is right. They may seek input and opinion from others, but at the end of the day they do not spend a lot of time worry about things not turning out as they hope. In other words, they commit to a course of action rather than spending time trying to decide on it.
Be clear. Great leaders communicate their vision and inspire others to take action. They do not tell people how to get things done; a great leader is only interested in results, not process.
Be current. Leaders do not dwell on the past. They look to the future and in doing so are able to make difficult decisions more easily than others. The ability to be decisive promotes action orientation and produces results.
So, are great leaders born or bred? Perhaps a little of both which means we all have the potential to be great leaders. First, start with what you believe in. Then keep it simple. Do what works for you.
Lisa DiTullio, Principal, Your Project Office, www.yourprojectoffice.com