Right from clan heads to the mighty warriors and kings of medieval times to today’s pathfinders; the evolution of a leader has documented incredible changes. A pertinent question for anyone in business today is – are leaders born or made? With numerous exhaustive views, two core components in this response remain – inherited traits and learned qualities!
According to psychologists, there are a few basic traits that imbibe in the personality of a good leader such as empathy, emotional stability, thoughtfulness, and kindness among others. While traits like communication, business integrity, strategic outlook and objectivity can be mastered with time and experience.
In the means of building a sustainable business, what is more important – a good team or a good leader? It may very well appear to be a chicken or egg-first question. When asked about a team, the answer usually revolves around the leader, it is a leader who defines the morale, culture, and spirit of the team. When the same is questioned to a leader, he/she credits the team’s collective efforts – that, right there, is a mark of a true blue leader.
Leadership comes in several guises, and each is as important, unique, and valuable as another. That being said, every leader dons additional roles from time to time depending on the need of the organization and the hour.
As an essential part of the team, a leader more often than not has to step out of his/her comfort zone to look at the wider and more objective view of things at hand. In doing so, they take a meticulous yet future-proof outlook. As an examiner, the leader needs to approach the situation with an open mind, to view the larger goals of the business and the company with the best strategic solution. Essentially an examiner may seek to make harsh changes that may not be easily welcomed but becomes necessary.
A leader moves with a flawless ability to dissect any given situation in a manner that every element can be clearly discerned across varied perspectives; individual or collective. To structure the company in a way where it functionally and strategically aligns with the overall goals, a leader as a segmenter is most needed. He/she prioritizes, escalates, or relooks when internal teams or related parties are unable to solve problems from a common ground.
One of the most tricky roles for a leader is that of an open-minded disruptor. Driven by success and an output-driven approach, a maverick leader is passionate about fulfilling objectives duly. For their teams or followers, they not only lay down a clear strategic path but make them feel empowered to act autonomously. History has shown many a maverick mindset leaders have disrupted the scheme of things innumerable times leading by examples.
Being a coach, and a mentor is only the natural trait many leaders undertake; the significance of which cannot be emphasized enough. A coach selects the right person for the job, making sure that it is the right fit. Coaching leaders work around three main aspects – collaboration, support, and guidance. They are highly focused on bringing out the best among their team members and paving the way for future leaders in making.
It should be no surprise that leaders have to take up the fence-first role be it of a salesperson or similar, from time to time. It is not necessarily the selling of a product or service, but it has to do with the ability to show and convince the team to take up something new, exciting, and challenging and not fall into the trappings of the familiar and easy. As a salesperson, the leader sells the vision and ideas of the company, they here are the persuaders and most potent influencers. More so, for leaders it acts as good practice should one get too comfortable.
A leader is an inquisitor by default. Asking harsh and probing questions is important for a leader to make the tough decisions pertaining to overall betterment. To strategically connect the organizational goals with that of the team, needs in-depth knowledge and experience, which only a suitable leader can provide.
A leader should be the changemaker not only for teams or members headed but also for the company or business at large. It is the continuous efforts, vision, and empathy that call for a change in the attitude, approach, and final results. Being a changemaker is never easy, especially when change is differently received by people and parties concerned. It is often the hardest pill to swallow and may question the existing and the accepted, but leaders have to be the catalysts in implementing progressive changes at varying levels.
An initiator takes the first step and embarks on the novel or out of the ordinary. Who better than a leader to be an initiator? The edge an initiator gives a leader is that an initiator does not always need approval. To be the pioneer, and to keep up with the ever-changing landscape, a leader who stands apart and makes the first move is the one who will essentially develop the team/organization to the next level and most likely be the harbinger of change.
Every leader has a default type but they don these hats from time to time based on what the situation demands. Sometimes a combination of these work wonders, whereas other times maybe just one definitive stand proves effective. Leadership roles seldom come in black and white, but rightful leaders endeavor to make the best of every situation thrown at them.