Our current world has been shaped directly and inadvertently by great leaders. There is no doubt that we would be worse off if some of history’s greatest leaders decided to not tap into their fullest potential. What if American Presidential leader Theodore Roosevelt did not run for president and become America’s light of hope during The Great Depression?
Or, consider Mahatma Gandhi, who was the face of the Indian Independence. Before his powerful presence in the territory, India had been ruled by the British for nearly two centuries before it seized its freedom.
There are many powerful people who deserve attention and respect from others whose lives have been changed by an important message or examples of never-ending willpower. There is so much we can learn from our predecessors, and if we are told we are doomed to repeat history, then why not learn from the best who came before us?
Types of Leadership
There are many leadership types and many styles to approach leading in a successful manner. Each leadership style has its own pros and cons, and paired with the right personality and followers, as style can form the dynamic trio for strong leadership.
Some of the most prevalent leadership styles include:
- Laissez-Faire – the “I Trust You” leader
- Servant – the “People Come First” leader
- Coach – the “Consider This” leader
- Democratic – the “What Do You Think?” leader
- Pacesetting – the “Do as I Do” leader
- Authoritative – the “Follow My Lead” leader
- Autocratic Style – the “Do as I Say” leader
As already mentioned, each leadership style is effective in its own place with the right people surrounding it. Not every style will fit every leader. If you are looking to lead a group of people, an organization, a community, your family, or anywhere in which you think your voice will make a difference, then it is important to analyze the components of leadership.Being a leader is an honorable and challenging accomplishment, one that must be maintained even once you achieve it. Click To Tweet
What Qualities Make a Great Leader?
This can be a source of heavy debate. It is good to keep in mind that there are qualities most great leaders embody, and their leadership style is how they show these qualities to their followers.
These are the commonly agreed-upon qualities of a good leader:
- Vision & Purpose
- Empathy & Emotional Intelligence
- Honesty & Integrity
- Confidence & Authority
- Commitment & Passion
- Inspires Others
- Healthy Communicator
- Delegation & Empowerment
- Creativity & Innovation
There are more specific qualities but if these inherently good qualities were dumped into a mixing bowl and whisked together, they would produce the molding potential of a remarkable leader. Everyone has qualities that may be stronger than what others have; be sure to know your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Work on strengthening yourself further, exerting self-control when necessary, speaking up at other times, and taking the opportunities as they come.
Exhibit these qualities daily and the results will be evident in the respect that you receive. Being a leader is an honorable and challenging accomplishment, one that must be maintained even once you achieve it. The path of leadership may not grow easier with time, but it is a path with rewards of its own that you will discover in time.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
How to Lead
1. Identify the Type of Leader You Are
If you want to lead or become a better leader, you need to know yourself first. What kind of leadership inspires you? In what ways do you despise being led?
Print the name of your worst boss or supervisor. Write down all the reasons why you did not like their management style or form of leadership. Then, print the name of the best boss or leader in your life. Write down all the qualities that inspired greatness out of you or made you perform your best work and what the driving force was to adhere to them.
These qualities you have written down give you a much better understanding of how you enjoy being a follower. With that action in mind, determine in what ways you feel like you will be the best leader for those around and for yourself. The answer to what leadership style will most often work best for you lies within those notes.
2. Identify the Type of People You Are Leading (or Wanting to Lead)
You have figured yourself out. Now it is time to understand those around you so you can be most effective with your application of style. Do know this: Not every group is going to respond well to a leader like you, and that is not necessarily any fault of your own. Before diving headfirst into a plan of action, be exceptionally real with yourself and who you are working with. Take the time to understand them, their needs, their wants, and how they follow the current direction.
Like each leadership style, every person you are looking to direct or lead has their own way of receiving this guidance. Industries, organizations, and personalities vary. This may take more time than understanding your own needs. Taking the time to better understand their leadership needs is crucial to your success.
Get to know them on a more personal level. Understand their background or world view. This will go a long way in figuring out how to reach each person. Once you have taken the time to better understand who you are working with, you can better decide if you are the right leader for them and how to go about doing it.
There are so many ways to “lead.” Lead by example is my personal favorite, however, there are many actions that can go a long way with the people you are leading. Here are some of the most proven leadership idioms that explain themselves:
- Lead by example.
- Know the way, go the way, and show the way.
- Praise in public, criticize in private.
- Give credit where credit is due.
- Be there and show up for your people.
- Be approachable and reasonable.
- Humble yourself, praise the team.
- Take the time to teach, train, and inspire.
- Praise improvement.
- Listen to those around you. Encourage them to speak freely.
- Each role is valuable, make sure you show it and they know it.
- Keep ambitious standards and believe in their ability to achieve it.
- Keep clear goals and communication.
The potential for leadership is endless and these qualities in this article are only scratching the surface. Stay diligent in these aspects and your time will come.