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Leadership, The Elite and You

April 14, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 199

Leadership is not just for the elite

Most people, at some points in their lives, are leaders. They assume leadership in family situations (children need leading!), on the sports field, and in many other situations, including work. Leadership is not just about the qualities of an elite few, although the leadership skills of chief executives and their teams are of fundamental importance. In the context of work, what is leadership, how does it differ from management, and are leaders born or can they be developed? This article seeks to provide some answers to these questions.

So What is leadership?

Talk of leadership and its qualities is very much in the news these days as the world is gripped by economic challenges. There are many definitions for leadership, which I don't intend going into. What's more important is that everyone can be a leader, you can learn to be a leader and, more importantly, you don't have to be perfect to be a leader. There are many different ways to be a leader, they come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing in common is that they must have the ability to influence others by their own personal attributes and behaviours.

Think about the leaders you have known, seen or worked with. Did or do they all behave in identical ways? Definitely not, they all had different personalities, qualities and values. Moreover, different leadership qualities may be needed in different circumstances. Many leaders are experienced in one particular area of business and less so than in others. All this demonstrates that there is no single template of how to be a leader and the qualities required and yet leaders can be developed, starting by knowing what qualities, behaviours and values you have and how can they be brought out.

To become successful leaders, certain attributes are required, which generally are the following:

  • Ability to motivate others;
  • Vision;
  • Honesty and integrity;
  • Decisiveness;
  • Ability to handle challenging situations.

In addition to the above, leaders do need a good level of general intelligence, professional expertise, positive personal attributes, such as energy and commitment, be inspiring to others and be excellent communicators (listening as well as talking). Emotional intelligence is now gaining a place on management and leadership development programmes. All these attributes will help to develop trust, without which leaders will not command loyalty.

Looking at leadership from a purely functional basis, the leader needs to be operating:

  • to achieve the common task
  • to work as a team to achieve that task
  • to meet individual needs, because people need each other socially, and work is an important social activity.

These functions are not carried out in isolation but rather there is a requirement for each of these areas to overlap and to be seen as integral parts of the whole leadership programme.

Steve Scott is a leading author who specialises in business and executive coaching. You can try his unique coaching programme, FREE at his business and executive coaching website at or he can also be contacted at

Source: EzineArticles
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