A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” -Ralph LaurenA leader is seen as someone with a can-do attitude, the person whose glass is always half full. Hurdles in the road are not obstacles that prevent him from achieving his goal. Rather, they are challenges to be faced, to be overcome, and to be learned from. A leader believes that failures present the opportunity for self-improvement, and that performance on the next go-round will only be enhanced through the lessons previously learned.
A leader does not point to a location, tell his followers to go there, then tell them how to accomplish a goal. Rather, the leader is at the front of the pack, forging ahead of the rest and blazing a trail. The leader demonstrates to everyone else how things should be done, and works harder at accomplishing his goals than anyone else.
Whether you are striving to be a leader in your career, or simply want to be a leader in your own private life, there are many lessons and characteristics that will serve you well in either of these endeavors.
Consider these traits and then give thought to your own style. Are you a leader? Can you become one?
- A Leader Must Have a Vision: This could be your grandest goal, or an overall sense of accomplishment. Either way, the leader must be able to visualize where he wants to be, where he wants his company to be, or where he wants his family to be. Everything begins with a worthy vision that provides a goal to work towards.
- A Leader Must be Able to Develop Relationships: Great interpersonal skills are necessary for any leader to possess. The hermit will not achieve greatness, no matter how adept, because the world will not notice him. The leader builds quality relationships based upon trust, respect, cooperation, and teamwork. The leader does not ask what others can do for him, but rather what he can be doing to help others. A leader inspires others to join him in his quest for success.
- A Leader Must be Able to Strategize: Successful leaders not only have a great vision, but they are able to develop a plan to reach their goal successfully. The leader knows what accomplishments need to be made, what obstacles must be overcome, and what resources will be needed in order to realize his vision.
- A Leader Must be Able to Resolve Conflict: A good leader will examine conflict from all angles and be able to determine its root cause. In addition to realizing the feelings and perspectives of others, the leader will also recognize and acknowledge his own role in the conflict. He will then work collaboratively with other involved parties in order to successfully resolve the conflict issue while keeping important relationships intact.
- A Leader Must be a Good Problem Solver: No matter how well thought out, the road to realizing a vision will be full of potholes. Thorough planning can help smooth out the road, but there will be some ruts in the road that threaten to rip the wheels off of the car. A good leader will recognize this ahead of time and plan accordingly, offering a backup plan when the original one goes awry. A leader is able to think on his feet, gather all available information, decipher the facts, and use some good common sense to come up with a workable solution.
Anyone can be a leader – after all, it is all in the manner and attitude with which one chooses to carry himself.
Written by David B. Bohl, the author of of Slow Down Fast as well as The Happiness Trilogy.