If one lives long enough he will encounter great leaders. Most people believe that leaders are born and few believe that they themselves can become any type of leader.
I am now a believer that the old axiom, “leaders are born not made” is false.
Leadership is not easy but can be learned. Leadership is demanding and can be frustrating. However, leadership is noble and rewarding. Therefore, it is important not to take your leadership role with a cavalier attitude.
There are nine facts about leadership that we all can aspire to have. I have found that these characteristics to be evident in the most ordinary to the most extraordinary leaders of our time. People like Gandhi, Martin L King and Mother Teresa all possess these nine qualities.
You do not need some extreme circumstance to propel you into a leadership role. Nevertheless, for anyone to become a great leader you must have a love of people, and a desire to improve the lives of people you encounter.
For example, Mother Teresa’s love for the people who lived in the slums of India inspired her to spend sixty years feeding and clothing the poor. Her love propelled her into a leadership role where Presidents, dignitaries and India’s populace were willing to set in congested rooms just to hear what she has to say.
The second and third characteristics of leadership will challenge the prevailing sentiment and have an emphasis on learning. Martin L. King knew that the nation could not keep treating a segment of the population differently than the rest.
Martin L King use his Scholarly and great oratory by invoking these words from our Constitution: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”….Martin L King challenged the status quo of the United States in 1960 for the betterment of society.
To be a leader you must be willing to challenge the status quo and continue to educate oneself.
The fourth and Fifth characteristics are a driven commitment and having a vision beyond present circumstances. Gandhi knew the Indian people must be self-reliant if they were going to survive in the future. Gandhi’s commitment to the Indian people that they will one day be independent of England’s monarch was a vision few Indian people believed or felt possible.
However, Gandhi’s forward thinking, commitment and self-sacrifice are the reasons India is independent of English colonial rule.
The seventh and eight truths have to do with the people around you. “Most people will follow a leader who can clearly articulate their WHY” Starts With The WHY (Simon Sinek) in life. Most can tell you what they do and how they do it but very few can tell you “WHY” they do what they do.
Let us go back to the three leaders I mentioned earlier Mother Teresa, Martin L King and Gandhi. Mother Teresa’s “WHY” was to feed the poor, Martin L King and Gandhi’s “WHY” the injustice of people. All three knew that one person could not do it so they inspired others to be involved.
Finally, the ninth and most crucial truth is YOU. I am including myself as well. “YOU make a difference.” The Truth About Leadership (James M Kouses Barry Z Posner) we must believe in ourselves. We must believe we can make a difference and move in that direction. We must believe we have all the attributes to challenge the status quo and be in love with the desire to change the world around us.