Leaders aren’t a small select group of people. They aren’t confined to world leaders and celebrities. Leaders are all over the world, in schools, hospitals, businesses, communities, households.
The simple truth is that everyone has it within themselves to become a leader – but they have to be prepared to go on the journey that this entails. They need to be ready to face some harsh truths, and they have to be prepared to learn a lot about themselves.
The leadership skills you bring to the fore can vary depending on the type of person you are. Building on these skills with your innate qualities is what gives you your own unique leadership brand. You may draw upon some tools that make you better equipped, but the type of leader you are is unique to you.
One of the things that I encourage leaders to do in my coaching is to leave the traditional “command and control” approach alone. This demand for compliance alienates people and causes an unhappy environment. Most modern organisations instead require a more humble, inclusive style.
People do not respond well to domineering, authoritarian leadership. You maximise someone’s potential with a more gentle, trustworthy approach. Coaching allows me to work with you to find out what your people skills are.
There are no set qualities to what makes someone a good leader. You do not have to go through a checklist to see if you have all the expected requirements. You can be male or female, loud and brash or shy and retiring. But you must be able to build trust, have emotional intelligence and be able to connect with people in a way that makes them want to engage with you. This dynamic inspires collaboration and creates a shared purpose.
The leaders whom I coach will have different personalities and behaviours, but what is similar is their way of forging consensus through participation, developing people for the long-term, good communication and self-awareness.
Good leaders have a lot of traits in common. They display balance, commitment, vision and courage – and all of these are called upon to help them with the challenges that leaders inevitably face.
None of the people skills that I share with you through my coaching are innate – you can learn them.
You may look at yourself and think that you have a short temper, or little patience or a desire to work on your own – but if you want to change these traits, you can. You just need to identify what you want to achieve as a leader and together we can work to bring this shift about.
Becoming a leader is a very humbling, encouraging and motivating thing to do. Your focus is shifted away from yourself and on to other people. You become a nurturer, a developer and a teacher. You build trust, inspire others and build a path to a shared vision.