Leadership is a characteristic, not a title. There are a lot of leaders as per their title that does not possess leadership and there are a lot of people as well that possess leadership who’s not labeled as a leader by the society, community, or organization.
Part of the things I learned from reading the book of Napoleon Hill is he listed down the major attributes of leadership. Check yourself if you have these attributes and assess if you deserve your title to be a leader or does people around you consider you as a leader despite your commoner status, probably because you have these attributes.
- Unwavering courage based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupation – Leaders are the people who always the first to put their foot in the water. They don’t know what’s in there, they don’t know how deep, how cold or hot, they don’t know what will happen but they still do it. They have the courage to do things that they never experience except that they’re aware of themselves that the challenge they are facing is something that they can pass through as per their assessment in their arsenal. They know the difference between courageous and suicidal.
- Self-control. The man who cannot control himself can never control others. Humans are emotional and emotion is a dangerous substance and should be handled with care. It can poison others as well as ruin plans and even progress. A true leader knows how to control his own emotions as well as the people around him. Emotion is like muriatic acid, you keep it away when it’s not necessary.
- A keen sense of justice – leadership will be challenged by misunderstandings and chaos within the organization or community but a leader who is fair and just is a leader who is strong and true to his members which in return will keep the respect of his followers; there is no leader if there’s no follower.
- Definiteness of decision. The man who wavers in his decisions shows that he is not sure of himself. A leader is expected to drive the group to a direction and if the leader keeps on changing courses the followers will lose their confidence. You cannot lead if even to yourself you have doubts.
- Definiteness of plans. The successful leader must plan his work, and work his plan. A good leader must have a plan to where the group should be heading. This is what makes a person with a leadership attribute stand-out from the crowd because he has definite plans for the group and he’s able to convince the group to follow his plans.
- The habit of doing more than paid for – leadership is a passion, it’s a calling, and it could be a life mission. Leaders lead the group towards their goal 24/7 and 365 days a year until the goal has achieved. Leading people is a difficult task and no amount of money can compensate it but a truly good leader still do it even if he is not paid to do it.
- A pleasing personality. No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Let’s face it we humans are judgmental and after all, as they say, “first impression’s last”. If you want to be respected, you should act and look that you want to be respected. This is not just for leaders or aspiring leaders but for everyone, your image is a reflection of how you want others to treat you.
- Sympathy and understanding – you are a human and so are the leaders, if you will become a leader someday you must still possess that human version of you and not a cold, hard robot or a walking bible of your goal. You need to be flexible too because you need to be understanding and sympathetic; not all can handle the path that you are following, sometimes you need to teach them first and not expect to get it right immediately.
- Mastery of detail. You got the plan, you know how to execute it then you should know every detail of it. Sometimes, you’ve been in this path and you went back because you want to lead others. That is how your followers look at you, whether you are new to the path or have been on it, they expect that you’ve mastered it; that you will bring them there to whatever goals you both are common.
- Leadership calls for power, and power calls for cooperation. Not because you are the leader, the members will bow down to you immediately, you need to earn that respect first. There are 2 forms of leadership: Leadership by Consent, and Leadership by Force. Leadership by Consent is by far the most effective. You need to show to your followers the practices, goals, attributes needed to achieve the mutual goal, and most importantly understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort.
Sooner or later we will all become leaders in our field of choice or to sometimes we don’t have a choice 🙂
As our age is incrementing, the people, especially the young ones are expecting a lot from us. So as young as now we need to start acquiring and practicing these attributes to ourselves so we are ready when the time comes.