“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams
This question is widely debated among thought leaders. Some believe that certain leadership traits are innate while others believe that these traits can be developed. Is an individual born with certain characteristics that predispose them to become great leaders or is leadership a skill that can be developed?
In a nutshell, leadership is influence. It is influencing followers to buy into a vision because they have gained their followers trust. Leaders are genuine individuals who have a strong moral compass. Their actions match their words. This is how they obtain the trust of their followers.
Leaders are also strategic thinkers who seek to establish win-win partnerships to gain competitive advantage and are results-oriented, ethical, and self-aware. They are lifelong learners who seek continuous improvement in their organizations as well as themselves. According to Denver based leadership consultant William S. Frank, “Wired like businesspeople, good leaders are bottom-line oriented and extraordinarily committed to results.”
In short, leaders are made and they are made though continuous improvement and self-awareness. Self-awareness is critical, without it one would not be able to accurately assess what areas need improvement. According to Erika Anderson author of Leading So People Will Follow ” This is, hands down, your biggest secret weapon in making yourself a great leader…Becoming truly self-aware means to cultivate, on a daily basis, an accurate sense of how you show up in the world and what motivates you. For instance: What are your actual strengths and weaknesses as a leader and as a person? What impact do you have on others? What do you care most about? What’s your moral compass, and do you use it as a guidance system? How closely do your actions line up with your promises?”