by ed2go instructor, Lynne Morton
Do you need a “title” or a “position” to be a leader? Many people incorrectly assume that these things are necessary, but they aren’t. Anyone, no matter what position they hold, can step up and behave like a leader when leadership is called for. This kind of ability isn’t given to you, you seize the opportunity—you recognize a need and you fill the need effectively.
We tend to think of the word “leader” as the same as the word “boss” or “supervisor” or “CEO.” But leadership is behavior, and it is possible in any context. You can demonstrate leadership at home with your family. You can demonstrate leadership in your community. You can even demonstrate leadership at your school.
So what does it take to be a good leader?
1. It takes awareness. You must be aware of the need for leadership. For example, if there is a fire in your home and someone needs to calmly help people get to safety, there is a strong need for someone to take charge and lead others with the calm and organized and sensitive manner that is required.
2. It takes good communication skills. Being a leader is about being clear and concise. Leadership communications are inspiring, and insightful. They should inform, motivate, guide or direct, but also invite further discussion.
3. It takes humility. Being a leader means doesn’t mean that it is all about you all the time. There are many times when a good leader puts others first and builds them up to lead in their own way. There are also times when the leader must recognize what he/she does not know, and must learn from others.
4. It takes consistency. If you only take a leadership position or action once, others may appreciate it but won’t necessarily think of you as a leader. However, if you take a leadership position or action again and again, others will see that pattern and will begin to think of you as a leader. For example, if there is a difficult student or client that your team members encounter often, and you make it clear that you are available to help, people respect you and appreciate you for that. In time, they even come expect it of you as a leader in this area.
5. It takes a positive attitude. Leaders believe in others and in the fact that positive outlook and behavior can make a difference. They aren’t naïve about difficult situations, but they do believe that those situations can be managed towards a good outcome.
Of course, there’s more to it than just this, but this is a fine starting point.
About our ed2go instructor
Lynne Morton is a management consultant and executive coach with 20 years of experience helping individuals and organizations improve their performance. Her professional experience includes having served as an Associate Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a Vice President at Seabury & Smith (Marsh & McLennan), and an Account Supervisor at Burson-Marsteller.