What is True Leadership!
Is it calling yourself a leader?
No it isn't!
Is it trying to draw a crowd to do as you say, or dictating to others what they should do?
I have found that being a leader is much more about doing, and being because "True Leaders" Lead by example, and don't just talk about it. What does that mean... Well, I am glad you asked, as I was always puzzled by it as well. Leaders are comprised of numerous strengths, and qualities which attract other like minded individuals who want to do as you do, and be more like you! The Dictionary Definition is pretty simple: "The Person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country" which is a simple definition. But there are leaders by position, and then there are leaders who are actually respected and trusted by taking action. Leaders by position are simply named, and may not have actually attained the "Leader Position" based on personal merit, or skills. They often don't have the utmost respect from their "subjects" and are trying to gain that respect and trust.
"True Leaders" have actually been in the shoes of the people or group they are leading, and have been there done that before trying to lead others. I really believe that many people who are named leaders get a bad taste in their mouths from lack of respect from the followers, or from lack of true authority from having been there and done that. Could there be a combination of "Named" and "True" Leader? Absolutely! Those are often the best, and have the most influence on those they lead. Calling yourself a leader and not having any true followers is simply taking a walk in the park!
Here's another take on Leadership....
Every one of us is a leader in our own right. Whether we lead an entire company, or a team of people, or a group of friends, or our families, or just ourselves…we are all leaders in some form or fashion. Whatever size our circle of influence may be today, if we work to improve as leaders, that circle of influence will enlarge.
I have been in positions of leadership my entire career, and during those years I have learned much about the difference between being a bad leader and being a good leader. Some lessons I learned the hard way, through trial and error followed by the humility that comes from overcoming those mistakes. Other lessons I learned through observing those I esteemed to be great leaders whose example I sought to follow. Through it all I found several traits that I believe are necessary for someone to be what I consider a true leader:
True leaders know who they are and what they stand for. They know their values and the rules they will abide by, regardless of the circumstances they face. They allow their people to understand the values they are committed to uphold, which lays a foundation for the rules their people will be expected to adhere to. True leaders both know and communicate their values openly with the people they lead, creating an atmosphere of certainty and trust.
True leaders have integrity. Integrity is the very core of their influence. Living the values they profess to believe is what gives them credibility and allows others to place their trust in them. True leaders are able to say “do as I do” rather than just “do as I say”, because they lead by example.
True leaders work right alongside the people they lead in order to get to know and care about the people they are leading. Working with people allows leaders to lift and inspire their team.
True leaders listen without being condescending. They are willing to hear what others have to say without rushing to judgment. They are patient and genuine in their desire to understand the thoughts and feelings of the people they lead.
True leaders are forthright with their people. They communicate openly and often. True leaders take the time to communicate often to their team in order to show that their team is valued and important to them. They understand that as the leader they have an obligation to communicate directly with their people so they never allow a void that someone with mal-intent can fill. True leaders take on the responsibility of communicating for themselves.
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