It is inherent to note that schools of thoughts hold strong views on how leaders emerge. While some are of the view that leaders are born, others think leaders are made.
Which ever of these schools you belong to, there is still a lot to consider while positioning yourself to take up the mantle of leadership. Circumstances may make one a leader at a point when that thought had never flashed his or her mind. That as it may, the extent to which one involves himself in building the points I am about raising would go a long way to either endear him to his followers or attract their wrath. The points expanded here are not exhaustive in any way. Let us now take a tour.
A leaders must be tough in his decisions and in their execution. Being tough is not about your physical build up neither is it about the fight in your small body. It goes beyond carrying yourself and showing strength. Being tough requires a careful assessment of options available even including consultations where necessary and then ensuring that the final decisions arrived at are what would make the difference. You then require the strength to stand by that decision and ensure that your followers have carried it through.
You can never achieve anything when the people you work with do not think you care a bit about their welfare. You may push them to the max, they would pretend to be working because they see you to pretend to care about them. This does not require you coming below your subordinates. They know you are the boss, but they know you are just as human as they are. They know your instructions must be taken, but they know your instructions are better taken when they are involved. The best way to get people around you doing something for you is to make them want to do it. That way, complains would be minimal and the output would be amazing.
A man without principles is like a bamboo tree that is blown by the wind towards any direction that the wind pleases. It may not break, but it might be weakened over time. Just make sure you are known for something you would always stand for. Be known for something you would never compromise on. You become trust worthy when people come to understand you. People naturally appear to love those who would give them freedom and those who would dance to their whims and caprices. Deep down within them, they know what is right. They may seem to abhor you when you come in contact with them in the first instance. Just so you know, do not come back a different person. You would have lost it. With time, they would come to admit what you are made of and would always stand by you in your pursuit.
A very important tool in communication and in getting people along with your vision is strong interpersonal skills. It is not for nothing that employers consciously scout for prospective employees whose interpersonal skills are superb. With a strong vision without an ability to relate it to others, the vision is as good as dead. Your power and strength in pulling your followers along would depend largely on your relationship with them. A Chinese proverb “involve me and I will understand” comes to underscore the point that interpersonal skills is key in interrelationships in our everyday engagements.
VERBAL AND NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION
This point could be fused into the above but I deem it to stand alone because of its significance in any leader. Mostly, people overlook the need to jealously guard manners. They are our silent judges. They explain every human setup. Your followers do not only measure you by your external character exertions. They silently observe what you do not say but do. Beside the words, the unspoken ones have a greater impact. People come to conclusion mostly after observing your non verbal skills. These includes your facial as well as body expressions.
Every leader must be focused on something he really would want to achieve. That very something becomes your goals. You may have a broader objective, but be sure you narrow your objectives into achievables. The best way is to envisage and then break the long-term goals into short-term ones so you can design a scheme towards achieving them. If done well, the achievements of the short-term goals would ultimately lead to the achievement of the long-term goal so determined. Setting goals gives you a focus on your direction and the direction you intend leading your followers. Remember, when the head is lost, the tail cannot find its way.
This is an important characteristic of a leader. As important as it is, it is mostly misapplied. Most leaders become furious when they fall short. A well designed plan, religiously followed with modifications where necessary, would place every leader on the right pedestal. Successes must be celebrated in bits and in pieces when they do come. A leader who rewards little successes of his followers in their little corner is just encouraging innovation and promising future rewards of such. Once the followers are aware of being appreciated when they succeed in putting your goals in line, they are motivated enough to follow you through thick and thin.
An uninspiring leader cannot expect a happy following. The inspired leader is one who is self-motivated and optimistic of the prospects of the future. From time to time, a leader is expected to lift the spirits of his followers in order to renew their hopes and aspirations. There are always some followers who from time to time would feel like giving up. Your ability to push them and get them revived in spirit make you effective. Every good leader identifies some competence among his followers. He sights those with the foresight but weak in spirit to inspire. He provides what is necessary to his followers before demanding what he requires.
Every leader is mindful of his selection into his team. Fact is that, those included in his team are largely influenced by those excluded either deliberately or not deliberately. Societies are dependent. Be it a mechanical or organic society, there is some level of cohesiveness which impacts a lot in the commitment or otherwise of your followers. A leader must be observant in his selection and ensure that the community that makes his team includes those that matter in order to cut down unnecessary machinations to see his exit.
Here, my point is to make it a point to listen to your followers from time to time. Let them feel being part of the story. Autocratic leaders may realise some positives in the short-run. But while at it, their followers who abhor autocracy would be digging deep to uncover a solution at getting them defeated. It is very important to note that when people are denied the opportunity to speak their minds, they would speak through their actions. Avenues can be created to ensure followers are able to, when they so desire, communicate their views to the leader.
It is my belief that if the above is carefully looked at and instilled into us consciously, our effectiveness in leadership would come natural.
I salute you!