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Foundation of a leader

Foundation of a LEADER

Leadership is a much talked about and desired trait that is seemingly becoming necessary to excel in all areas of life. It is quite different from management, even though managers need leadership skills and leaders need managerial skills.

The Need for True Leadership

If a manager has to ensure that the team is moving up the ladder, a leader keeps in mind that the ladder is aligned to the right wall. However, a right perception about leadership and a right kind of inculcation of leadership skills is the need of the hour.

It is commonly observed that ‘how to acquire leadership skills’ has become a beaten topic but how to become a true leader who is remembered through the scale of time and who leaves a positive mark on others, is still less explored. For this, let us first understand leadership from a different and ethical perspective.

Stick to Ethical Standards

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves. The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a football field, in an army, or in an office.

For instance, if I choose to be honest, I will still be honest even if the whole world behaves dishonestly. It is because I have chosen this virtue because I like it; I had never chosen the virtue because others wanted me to. Therefore, a leader is self-driven when it comes to setting and following standards.

Translate Vision into Reality

A leader establishes direction by developing a vision. Management consists of implementing the vision and strategy provided by leaders, coordinating and staffing the organization, and handling day-to-day problems.

Also, no doubt that a leader has to be a visionary. But he also has the capacity to translate vision into reality, without which the visions do not have real meaning.

Influence with Humility

Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration. A leader is in a position where he has a large area of influence on the people who are down the line.

Therefore, leaders are people who, by their actions, influence a group of people to move toward a common or shared goal. His each and every action is being followed.

It is said: “Others do as they see us doing” or “Values or ethics are not taught, they are caught”. With this awareness, comes great responsibility and with this responsibility comes great humility.

Relational Leadership Vs. Positional Leadership

Also, a leader is respected by people from their heart. As it has been already said, leadership is not a designation in the hierarchy but a position in the hearts of others. People follow a leader because they want to and not just because they have to. This is what we know as ‘relational leadership’ in contrast to the orthodox ‘positional leadership’.

When the heart accepts, the mind opens, and then it takes very little of a leader’s time and energy to mobilize its team to achieve a goal. Such leaders become immortal in history and the minds of all people.

Facilitative Leadership Vs. Authoritative Leadership

These are another 2 types of leadership skills. In the case of facilitative leadership, a leader helps the team explore their full potential and also the best way out to deal with a situation, rather than spoon-feeding them with the solution of what should be done and what should not be done.

A leader who facilitates always remembers that there might be better ways of doing things and believes his team to bring up that solution. This gives room for innovation. Of course, time limits and productivity are not kept at stake but there cannot be a better way of ensuring the highest quality and maximum productivity than making the team the 1st stakeholder of the task and its success.

Courageous and Seeker of the Truth

“In moments of crisis, the leaders emerge.” To become a true leader, one has to be independent in his thinking and doing. If one follows what the world is thinking and doing, one cannot be a leader and is certainly a follower of the trend in the world.

Thus, to be a true leader, one needs to be innovative and a free thinker. He must be courageous to pave his own path, take charge of the situation under crisis, and go against the stream for the right cause.

But what is the right cause? There may be different definitions of right and wrong in the same scenario, depending on an individual’s perception. So, to be truly righteous, one has to be aligned with the ever-right philosophy, which is the ‘truth’.

Understanding Oneself

A leader demonstrates extraordinary skills in dealing with situations, which requires of him, the use of his full potential. But one can use his full potential only when one is aware of it. Hence, a leader is the one who understands his strengths and limitations and stands out in the crowd based on his skills.

A leader is aware of the self and knows how to motivate himself. He knows his powers and also when to use them and how to use them. Moreover, a leader is also aware of his limitations.

Just as when one is aware of the pothole on the road, one can be more cautious to avoid it and continue his journey without being affected by it, until it is mended. Similarly, knowing one’s weakness allows a leader to avoid falling in it and gradually working on it in order to overcome it.

Understanding Others

“You are going to change your people but do you know them and do you love them?” – Mother Teresa

You can’t solve what you don’t know! A leader does not necessarily have to be a Mr. Know It All but has to certainly know or understand the people he is leading. The best way to understand your team member is to, at one time or another, be in their footsteps and remember what it is like! There’s a saying that says “To be a good leader is to be a good follower”. That’s because we can only truly understand what they are experiencing if we ourselves have experienced it!

Of course, we don’t need to have lived every single experience that they did, but we need to have enough experience to be able to generalize their emotional state.

In addition to it, a leader recognizes the specialty of people around and creates opportunities for them to leverage it. A leader must know what a person in his team can do and what he cannot do. If a person is given a task that he cannot accomplish by himself, the task is bound to meet failure. So, to assign the right task to the right person is a leader’s responsibility. Also, to enable each person in the team to develop and ensure that all skill sets in the team and in each person are met, is also a leader’s responsibility. In order to be able to do so, a leader has to first understand each team player.

Approachable, but with High Self Esteem

In the time of need, it is always a leader who is looked up to as he is always approachable. If we feel that people approach us only when they are in need and are thus being mean to us or using us for their benefit, it is because of lower self-esteem.

*Useful things are often to be used. Whereas, things that are not brought into use are usually

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