Leadership Series – We All Can Be Leaders
An article in “The Leader in You” Series
Quality of leadership is not unique to an age or gender.
It is not bound by geography or awarded by nationality. Its impact transcends space and time.
The marvel of positive influence extends beyond heads of state and corporate executives recognized for exemplary management.
Evidence of leadership appears at school yards, jury deliberations, contract negotiations, family conversations, and every time a person’s words or actions enhance the well-being of others.
Examples of Leadership
Examples of leadership aptitude are often coupled with dramatic challenges
- courage in a moment of fear
- uplifting the direction of a failing business
- managing a team to a championship season
We salute the winners who appear in headlines.
But who were those persons before the major event glamorized their reputation?
What is it about the person who makes an impression that stands out in a crowd?
In the absence of a dramatic event, is that person less of a leader?
Assets That Define Us
The assets that distinguish the extraordinary persons among us are a blend of ethical and behavioral attributes that align with the most dignified of human possibilities..
- Empathy, a sincere concern for the general well-being of others
- The talent to make decisions when outcomes are not guaranteed.
They cause action and reaction to events and observations that compel the leader to act when others do not have a response.
The persons we perceive as leaders are those who demonstrate the ability to enrich their community by the decisions they make for themselves and others.
The Principles That Define
The principles that define persons direct their behavior.
- They act when time and location place them in a situation that seeks a response
- They direct when others follow
- They motivate when others despair
- hey plan when ideas are scarce
The confluence of stimuli in which they exist prompts the leaders to manage, to govern, and to encourage those around them. Certainly, a person in a position of authority has opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills.
But, position alone is insufficient.
Guidance rooted in confidence must co-exist with opportunity.
Characteristics of Leadership
The characteristics of leadership ability are born of experience, education, and preparation.
Life experiences and educational opportunities are platforms to evaluate events and conditions. They expose styles of behavior, effectiveness of communication, and shape the profile of every individual.
Leaders take experience and education and do something with it. They act; they contribute to the conversation; they even know when to remain silent to absorb more information to enhance understanding.
They take the elements that life provides and incorporate those with meaning for them into a ‘response in waiting’ as the flow of events dictate.
They are prepared.
As moments to make decisions appear, they act.
Leaders are also prepared to respond to the unexpected. They ready themselves to react to the unanticipated They ask questions. They muse over alternative possible outcomes.
We All Can Be Leaders
We lead when we contribute to the flow and direction of circumstances and events in which we find ourselves either alone or with others.
When we use the ethical leadership practices that motivate others, improve environments, resolve conflicts, and point the moral compass of our community in the proper direction, we exercise the option to lead rather than remain passive.
Leadership development can occur all the time.
When we heighten our sensitivity to matters that affect lives, we allow ourselves to measure our assessment of encounters and respond or prepare a response that imports value to present and future situations.
Opinions and assessments are bound to differ among observers but the style and pace of engagement, and the dignity that a leader brings to inevitable tensions will impress even the harshest critics.
Where we can Elevate
Moments of significant drama that impact millions of lives will likely evade most of us.
We each, however, have occasions where we can elevate the morale and condition of those closest to us by the way we behave, by explicit and implicit signs of concern for others, and adherence to a code of ethics that supports the dignity of all around us.
When those moments present themselves, we will be leaders when we participate and contribute to the betterment of an existing condition.
Preparation begins when we observe, evaluate, form opinions, and develop a leadership style. Leadership happens when we use that store of wealth by becoming involved.
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