By Jim Dawson
Are leaders born or made? If
they are made, can anyone become a good leader? If you want to become an effective leader, or if you are in a leadership
role and want to heighten your team’s productivity, what can you do?
How can you become the
kind of leader that people look up to, turn to, go the extra mile for,
and rely on to get things done?
The answer is – look to the leaders you admire and learn to do what
they do. Study the
characteristics they have in common and make their habits your own.
good leaders have personal POWER, whether they are
conscious of it or not. This
doesn’t mean they lead by telling people what to do, although they
might. Having personal
power means having mastery of self, it means mastering certain
behaviors and attitudes that, as a natural consequence, draw to you
the people, talent, and opportunities you need to succeed.
If you have a well developed sense of personal power, by
definition you are in a leadership role and you are a role model to
those around you.
Developing your personal power takes work and it’s a life-long
commitment. But every
triumph along the way will bring you satisfaction, opportunity, and a
step closer to being the best leader you can be.
Here are five behaviors that are guaranteed to
POWER up your leadership abilities.
thought, word, emotion, expression, and posture.
Maintaining a positive approach energizes you, keeps you ready
for new challenges, and strengthens your ability to manage change.
Openness –to new ideas and people. Exposing
yourself to all kinds of people and philosophies, and being
knowledgeable on many subjects, increases your versatility and ability
to see new possibilities.
Willingness –to do things differently, to persevere, to help others, to do
what’s right, to learn new skills, and to acknowledge greatness in
others expands your ability to influence and empower the people around
Employing –tact, common courtesies, sincerity, tolerance, humor, hope, and
patience earns you respect and increases your ability to attract the
right people at the right time.
Remembering – your purpose. Knowing
yourself, being honest with yourself, doing your best, and believing
in who you are enhances your ability to inspire higher performance in
think of the leaders you admire at work, in political, religious, or
social arenas, what score would you give them on a scale of 1-10 in
terms of having personal power? What
score would you give yourself?
want to grow as a leader and increase your sphere of influence, you
must continually find ways to nurture and strengthen your personal
power. Research shows that
true leadership is a learned ability.
Therefore, you can, with deliberate intent, master the habits,
characteristics, and attitudes shared by all good leaders.
example, good leaders:
Build trust by
doing what they say they will do
Build loyalty by
being of service to those
they lead and follow
Solicit the input of people who have the skills and
knowledge they may lack
Stand by their decisions
Have a sense of
Use authority only as a backup and use it sparingly
importantly, good leaders know that leadership is…
Creating and holding vision.
to understand the “why,” as well as the “what,” “when,”
“where,” and “how.” A
leader communicates the “why” in a way that engages the passions
of others and compels them to take up the charge.
A leader is a catalyst for releasing human potential through
encouraging others, setting an example, and celebrating individual and
team accomplishments. As a
result, those they lead show more initiative, take greater
responsibility, and become more productive.
Motivating and energizing others. A
leader has good interpersonal skills, the ability to adapt to
different people and situations, and to recognize and address
political and interpersonal sensitivities.
He or she is a team player, acts on suggestions when possible,
and makes work enjoyable for the people in their organization.
Taking responsibility. A
leader treats people with respect, and does not shift blame to others,
show favoritism or prejudices, or carry a grudge.
Planning for the future. Taking
the time to establish a course of action while looking for potential
problems, then handling them proactively, with good judgment, and as
opportunities rather than irritations, is the hallmark of an effective
Establishing structure. Organizational
structure makes it possible for individuals to work together.
A leader has the ability to create an organizational structure
that allows people to work in teams as effectively as they may work
Sharing knowledge and experience.
A leader never hesitates to share what they know for fear that
others might use that knowledge to threaten his or her leadership
position. In fact, a good
leader ensures that others can take the lead whenever necessary.
Following direction, as well as setting direction. Knowing
how to take direction and relay the information in a manner that gains
group consensus and encourages creative thinking is a leader’s trump
Making the boss look good. It’s
not “brown nosing” when a leader consistently does a good job and
finds ways to make his or her boss’s life easier.
It’s good business sense, profitable for the organization,
and creates more potential for advancement up and down the line.
work for a true leader, you can feel the difference.
You feel happy and productive.
As leadership is individual and personal, people may not be
able to easily define what good leadership is, however, they can
identify it when they encounter it.
it’s time to ask yourself, “Why” do I want to be a leader?
“Who” are my coaches and mentors?
“What” are my goals and objectives?”
“When” will I take the first steps?
“Where” will I be in three years, in five years?
“How” will I measure my effectiveness?
plenty of big jobs awaiting men and women who have the power to turn
challenges into opportunities for success.
If you want to be counted among them,
Make a habit of reading books and attending
workshops on leadership and communication development.
List the qualities of leadership that are
important to you and make an effort to embody them.
Ask leaders you know and respect to spend time
with you and help you navigate through the waters of greater
Do the same for others.
finally, ask yourself every day, “Do I do what good leaders do?”
When your answer is “Yes” on a regular basis, you will find
yourself on the way to more exciting leadership roles and greater
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