Much has been written about the concepts of leadership; however, after all the dust settles it comes back to the same old time tested methods that have been used from the beginning of time. Sure we have given them all fancy high tech names like autocratic, participative, transactional, transformational, situational, and many more.
It is also repeated over and over that leaders are made and not born! I say hogwash to that statement! Typically the ones singing that song loudly are those that are selling leadership training to those individuals that will never become leaders no matter how many seminars they set through. If it were possible to train someone to be a great leader then the world would be filled with them since there are more leadership training classes, seminars, manuals, books, audio tapes, video tapes, then anyone could ever imagine. With all these resources available why are there not more great leaders out there!
I sit in the camp that leaders are born! Yes I know that I am in the minority but after being in the business world for nearly forty years I have seen a lot of people come and go that claimed to be leaders, but were far from it.
When it comes to the concepts of leadership that I feel have been tested throughout time it boils down to a few traits that matter most and all great leaders have had them. They are a part of the personality of an individual and no matter how many training classes a person attends it will not become a part of them. Please keep in mind there is no particular importance to the order I will address these concepts of leadership in.
The first concept or trait is does a person have the ability to see what something can become? Do they have a vision? But just as important as being able to have a vision is being able to communicate that vision in a way that inspires others to see it and want to follow you in your efforts to fulfill that vision. So from the beginning of time this type of person has been who the masses will follow.
The second concept of leadership is integrity. Although the term integrity is thrown around so much it is hard to define anymore what it exactly means I will give you my definition. Can you be believed and trusted by those following you? If they don’t believe or trust you then you will never be a leader no matter how many leadership training classes you attend. Sure you may be able to lie to them for a time but sooner or later they will figure it out and then your reign as leader will be up.
If I tried to pull off being a professional NFL coach it will not work no matter what my vision was or how good of a leader I think I am since I have never played professional football or coached it. How could I ever be seen as believable when I was trying to sell my vision to the players? My integrity would be shot!
To me these are the two most important concepts of leadership there are. They are the foundation to build the rest of your skills upon. These two concepts of leadership make up the personality of a great leader. Like I began with it really doesn’t matter what style of leadership I use I must have the inbred traits or I will not be effective.
Having said all the above there are many people out in the business world pretending to be leaders using some new fancy technique that they just learned in an expensive leadership seminar and are wondering why it is not working. They continue to wonder why people are not following them! They are modeling the style they just learned in that expensive class but it is not working. Why?
The answer is simple! The key is that they are modeling someone else’s style and most likely do not have a style of their own because they are not a natural leader at all. They are breaking one of the basic concepts of leadership by pretending to be something they are not. Integrity! By not having integrity it makes it impossible to achieve the other concept and that is selling your vision!
Thank you and may God bless you! Return to Leadership Characteristics.