Quite often, I am confronted with people who are ask me if there is one thing about leadership, one principle, one rule, what would that be?
During my undergraduate coursework, I worked with a professor who was a leadership guru. He was always quoting Peter Drucker. One of the quotes that stuck out the most, was “leadership has nothing to do with charisma”. The most charismatic leaders of the 20th century, were also the worst.
In your history books you’ve read about people like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin and what kind of things they did. Despite their morals and their motives being in the wrong, both of them were able to brainwash their followers to do their bidding.
What key elements must a leader have, in order to become a good leader?
What is leadership built off of? How does a person become a good leader? Leadership is mainly built based on different things like character, honesty, humbleness, credibility, communication skills, virtue, good motives and, above all, passion.
Passion is something that you cannot purchase and you cannot learn. It is something that will separate the good leaders from the bad. Passion is a natural ability that sometimes comes and goes, depending on the project that a leader and his team are working on. You will notice that a good leader will often not lead a compartmentalized life. They simply integrate aspects of their lives together. A leader that shows passion is going to talk to his friends, his family, and his coworkers about what his next big project is or currently working on.
Another good thing that makes a good leader would be adaptation. A leader that adapts to a new project is not afraid of change. A leader should love competition, because the world is can be forever changing. You can look at bigger corporations that have fallen behind as examples, because they did not adapt very well. Take for instance, Media Play, Circuit City, or perhaps Blockbuster. Music and videos were not being sold in stores anymore music was being downloaded off of the Internet. These companies did not implicate change to their environment fast enough. That is the biggest reason why they failed.
Today, if you go into a Best Buy you see a wide array of products you see everything from dishwashers to games to televisions to car stereos to books cell phones and so on. This was their way of adapting and this is a reason why they’re one of the biggest competitors in their market field is because corporate Best Buy saw the need to change.
Nature or Nurture?
There has always been a debate on whether leadership a learned topic. Can leadership be taught to people who are not a natural born leaders? Or is being a leader an unnatural thing that people are born with that they develop, as they work their way through life.
I strongly believe that leadership is a combination of both, but weighing heavily on the learned side.
Every aspect that makes a good leader is hard for any one person to excel at. In society we often think that leaders are charismatic and natural born. I tend to disagree. What I think makes a good leader is to take other leaders traits and build your own leadership style. I believe another attribute to being a good leader is to be able to put people where they belong. Leaders can assemble a team of different people so they can get the task accomplished without any hesitation any problems or any fallbacks. Leaders should also be flexible and adapt to change. By studying and learning other leadership styles, you will naturally develop a system that specifically fits your unique style, taking your natural innate leadership abilities and forming them into learned leadership styles.