Till this day, the mystery of how soldier ants get so coordinated in uniformity never ceases to baffle me. While some of us are of the view that they act in such a manner because they are just mere ants, nevertheless, there is more to that. There is more to their unique nature of coherence where no one seems to falter in the instructions passed out to them. Believe it or not, these are nothing but products of good leadership traits exercised by the ant leaders. Alright, enough already with the ant world. In our world today, this very trait applies to us too, I mean, do you ever wonder why some leaders tend to have had a successful leadership career, leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Mao Zedong, Nelson Mandela, Julius Caesar, Fidel Castro, Winston Churchill and some never did, was it as a result of their genes? As a result of their life choices? Or was it just meant to be? Too many questions, but very few answers. So if you’ve ever been bothered by any of these questions, then this article is specifically written for you because of the detailed emphasis laid out on why effective leadership qualities and skills are paramount to any leader that wishes to reach the height of leadership during their reign.
There is this amazing formula behind the acquisition of effective leadership qualities and skills. In fact in order to succeed in any sphere of leadership, whether it’s in an organization, church, at work or wherever one might find themselves, if this theory isn’t followed systematically, the individual involved is likely doomed to fail. Just as the popular saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so is the case in this theory. The first phase is:
The person involved (the leader in question) will have to be mentally prepared. That is, he/she will have to know that the process of acquiring these skills are not as rosy as it may sound or people often put it. As a matter of fact, it will take a colossal amount of dedication, patience, and courage. This very phase is crucial because it serves as the bedrock of any leader that desires to be great. In the course of leadership, from time to time, you’ll be faced with dilemmas, down periods, pressurizing moments, and if you’re not mentally prepared, you may easily fail as a leader, because those moments must always come. In fact, they are part and parcel of leadership and what are responsible for making a leader great.
The journey towards being a great leader isn’t a Rolla Costa. For instance if you just started inculcating the habit of keeping to time this week, you will have to continue on developing that habit for a very long time without skipping some days or giving yourself false reasons to avoid doing it consistently. Never forget, your reputation as a leader precedes you, so whatever you do, people, especially your followers are watching you. If you’re the type that isn’t fully committed and consistent in his dealings, then you will most likely be perceived as an unserious leader. And you wouldn’t like that to happen, would you?
Leadership Qualities and Skills
In football, there are certain things you have to do in order to be a good ball juggler. In leadership, the same goes for anyone that wants to be a great leader, and they include:
* Honesty and Integrity: who would love to have a crook as their leader? Absolutely not. We all love honesty and integrity especially from those we look up to for either direction or support. So in order to become a great leader, you must see to it that your honesty and integrity status are in good shape.
* Great Confidence Level: We all love Shy Ronnie in Rihanna’s opera. But, how many of us would love to have such a person as the head of our organization or business firms? I guess not. In leadership, it’s mandatory that you build your self-confidence level if you’d want to have the chance of being a great leader. It is important because, if the leader is confident and positive, the followers will bask in confidence towards the leadership and the organization as a whole.
* Source of Inspiration: it’s inevitable, we all have at some point down times. But, who will your followers turn to when their leader is always a source of negativity rather than being a source of inspiration. I mean, who wouldn’t love to have Lesley Brown as their leader? Absolutely everyone would die to have such. So what’s the secret? Always thrive to stay positive even in the face of adversities, because when you do that and it becomes a habit, your followers will always have it at the back of their minds that you are there for them as a source of inspiration, especially when the going gets tough.
* Passion: it has been said a dozen times, you have to develop a passion for whatever you wish to do. Why is this so important in the making for a great leader? Well, as mentioned in the above point, trying times will always come and in that period, if you didn’t develop passion towards leadership, then moments like that will always sweep you off your feet. However, if you’re passionate about leading, then in the face of these trying times, you will be able to keep your cool and continue the course. Always remember, tough times don’t last, tough people do!
* Good Communicator: Leadership is like being in a relationship, and what’s the essence of being in a relationship without communication? So in order to become a good leader, one must be able to communicate easily with their followers because, leadership is a two-way traffic, your followers can’t exist without you, and you can’t exist without your followers. So always try as much as possible to maintain a healthy communication link with them, as this will help you know what they think of you and where improvements will need to be made.
* Decision-making Capabilities: okay, this one is a little deep. There are a thousand and one instances where kings lost their virtue in the sands of time as great leaders, after failing to make crucial decisions in their territory. Just like in the Bible, King Solomon was declared the best and wisest not only for his name but because he had the capability of making tough decisions. Others include Mandela, Gandhi and the rest. So in order to become a good leader, one must develop the ability to make decisions.
* Responsibility: it’s rather a pity that most leaders are ignorant of this trait. No good leader ever in the history of mankind, has ever shied away from responsibilities. In fact, this is what accords a leader respect, because, it shows you’re capable and at the same time, concerned about the well-being of your people.
*Empathy: Most often than not, we get caught up in the web of Hollywood strings, where most leaders in movies are portrayed to be everly autocratic in their dealings, causing us to think that perhaps, that’s the way it should be. And even while this may be the reality for some, it is in all dimensions a wrong trait for any leader that wishes to be named as one of the greatest in history. In leadership, there must be that connection between the leader and the followers, where the leader will in some cases throw a public poll on the followers, to help him have a clue of just how to govern them right, and not to take self-imposed decisions at the detriment of his people.
* Creativity: The last but not the least of the qualities is that of creativity. Creativity is vision, and so if a leader is visionless, then frankly speaking there is no need for such to be called a leader. This is so because leaders, from time immemorial, were always responsible for bringing in new ideas into the kingdom, in order to help develop their territory. Like Nelson Mandela in South Africa: he had the vision of a self-governing country that would break out of the apartheid regime, and thus formulated ways of achieving that. Now that was a leader!
So in brief, no leader can ever be recorded in the history books of greatness without possessing at least 80% of these effective leadership qualities and skills. Let’s take then the American president Abraham Lincoln into the picture. As a matter of fact, he has been known to be the epitome of leadership for the past centuries by many who have read about his life. First of all, he followed the phases that we discussed earlier in this article, that is, the mental preparation and commitment. If Abraham Lincoln wasn’t mentally prepared, he would have given up on his political career after those numerous electoral loses, and life in general. However, he persisted because he was mentally prepared and committed to achieving his goal. That’s why as stated earlier, it’s important for any leader to pass through this phases so that no matter what comes their way, they would never shiver in the face of it.