On leadership

There’re many things that make a good leader.

Willingness to help, a genuine interest in empowering their fellowship, a sincere involvement in causes they’re associated with… I could go on.

But, first, let’s talk about courage. Because that’s where it all starts.

What does it mean to be courageous leader?

The more I think about it, the more I realise that there are many types of courage. The physical courage to handle a team of rowdy millennials, the mental stamina to stand up to displeased contemporaries, and then the whole new realm of tackling business scenarios and making decisions. Every choice a leader makes on behalf of their team and business requires immense courage and ceaseless strength.

No wonder we have so many bad leaders. It’s not easy. Although most people I’ve seen crave for leadership roles in an organisation, I don’t think they know the implications that come along.

A leader exudes intense responsibility. Failing in that respect diminishes their credibility and deems them forever as an unsuccessful person. Besides, younger team members expect to learn from whoever’s in the leadership role. When that person lacks the courage—or backbone—to guide from example, they’re useless. When a leader places their own interest over the interest of those around them, they become an agent of foolishness.

That said, leaders face countless threats from all sides. And to deal with all that, they need to have their heart in the right place. Being able to empathise with their team members, share a genuine joke, and being open for discussion are important signals that a leader sends to their team. No two leaders will face the same struggles, and there aren’t stencilled ways to solve them.

Encouraging the team to share constructive criticism, listening to their opinions, assessing situations from multiple perspectives, and having a strong conviction about their decisions—all make for a great leader. The courage (driven by necessity) to shed their ego, to seek solutions to problems without losing their innate uniqueness—now that’s the kind of leader I want to work with (and then one day be).

Thanks for the muse, Tom Reid and the #ImpactMatters Twitter chat (Mondays at 7 pm Eastern Time).

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