Organisations are made of its people and organisational culture is made of its leaders. It is believed that organisational leadership is a result of positive & negative experiences of leaders, the effect of which can be seen in their overall well-being while practicing leadership styles & decision making for the teams.
I get this question asked several times that if leadership is inborn or it can be developed, hence in this short piece of writing, I would like to focus on how leadership traits can be developed in individuals especially young adults as they hold the 50% of the population of our country.
The seeds of leadership are sowed in formative years and roots are nourished through experiences while growing up, so the big question is how to nurture those roots and what would make a successful leader? So, let us break the bubble and tell you that there is no one magic formula for being a leader. A leader is first a human being and every human being is different, hence what is important is to nurture the traits that would develop your leadership abilities without altering your personality.
- Invest in the path of Self Awareness
The human mind’s cognitive abilities change from time to time based on situations and circumstances. So, knowing about your strengths and accepting your weakness would help you achieve an in-depth knowledge of how you think, feel, and act when put in critical situations with or without a team so you can enhance your learning & nurture meaningful relationships.
- Develop Resilience
There is a well-known saying that a person’s success is not defined by where he has reached but by how has he reached there. How you handle obstacles and your ability to re-evaluate the situation at the time of crisis defines your ability to hold the position of a leader. Knowing how to face disappointment and move forward by adapting to change develops the qualities of grit, determination, perseverance aptly required for a leader.
- Teams above your self-interest
Yes, you read it right, keeping your self-interest over your team can be hazardous to your leadership journey as leadership is all about people. You need to build a culture where the team takes pride in filling each other’s shoes when in need. And the culture starts from you as a leader.
- Ability to Problem Solving
As leaders, your goal in the first place should be creating an environment where problem occurrence is minimised, and when it occurs you should be courageous enough to take them on your shoulders. While you do this, you are also enabling your team to learn the skill by shadowing you.
- Ability to Decision Making
Decision Making is one skill that must be practiced at all phases of life, personal & professionals. As a leader, you need to be sharp enough to execute situational analysis, followed by evaluating your potential options and accordingly make the hard calls. Remember your team is watching you and where on one hand they can be kind towards the result of your wrong decision they would never forgive you for making a delayed decision.
- A mind-set of learning
A learner for life; this should be the mantra of ideally all individuals but it is a non-negotiable for leaders. A learning mindset helps you think on your toes, be more flexible and lead innovation, cultivate new ideas for the teams. Learning is not just about being relevant but about developing a foresight.
- Willingness to take a calculated risk
You either win or you learn; does this saying rings the bell? It is true that the chance to succeed is possible even in failure but only when you learn from the mistakes, and seeing success in failure allows you to take the required risks more often. That also brings me to the point of “calculated risks”, to explain that I would like to refer to a book by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen ‘Great by Choice’ where they speak about ‘Firing Bullets, Then Cannonballs’ which means that you focus on attacking low-risk decisions first followed by high risk. In short, if the risks are taken with attentiveness backed by analytics, they will lead to success.
- Strong values & work ethics
By now you if you are still reading this article, you would have understood that it is not a cakewalk. It requires much more than just a good personality to be a leader and more so often difficult decisions. It is more than throwing your weight around, you cannot be called as a leader unless you have a stronghold on your value system & personal & professional ethics. This means standing for the rights and dignity of your team while leading by example. In life you would come across situations where differentiating between right & wrong morally & ethically will become difficult, that is when being aware of your values and considering them as a yardstick for influencing your own and others’ behavior will come to play. Remember honesty and willingness to serve others are virtues that help you practice ethical leadership & make you an irreplaceable asset to your team & community.
So be the champion who leads by an example and keep doing the right things by taking the right decisions and bang you have already stepped on to your journey of leadership!
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