Does the word leadership conjure up the vision of a face to you? Could you describe what a leader looked like? We all have some judgments and assumptions when we think of leaders, but true leadership is faceless. It has no set appearance, it is not male, nor female, and if our egos had to put an appearance on it then tell me what similarities Steve Jobs, Oprah, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and Bill Gates have in common? If leadership is faceless, then how do we box it into our paradigms and squish it into society’s recognition so we can understand it?
Is fear or old outdated thinking limiting the image of leadership to a suit? There is only one leader above that will bring up a visual memory of a suit. It is not about the suit; it is about stagnation, about change, and about progression. Can you move past the comfort of conformity and conditioning to the way things have been done to the way they ought to be done? Is it possible for an ego driven, appearance based society to move beyond leadership having a face and measure it purely on skill, experience, performance, and soul?
The most influential leaders we know possess an incredible, dynamic collage of characteristics; they do not rest on talent alone, but are driven by passion, purpose, ideals, and beliefs greater than themselves to a depth they cannot explain. They emerge and rise often due to dedication, commitment to excellence, and vision. So then if leadership is not about what we think it looks like, is it about personality traits or character along with the demonstration of these in one’s work? Is this how we should select our leaders?
Leaders are not selected by others. A leader chooses to be one long before any external recognition is acknowledged. Yes, you decide to be a leader and through your consistent, conscious daily actions, you become one. If you focus solely on your talent and skill, you will be recognized for it, but leading takes more than mastery of one’s chosen profession; a leader embodies a set of traits that lead people for a common purpose where they are inspired to follow. There are many so called leaders in positions that are getting the job done and creating bottom line results, but if their team was not getting paid, would they follow this person? A great leader will create followers devoted to the mission or goal where the people are internally aligned and motivated.
3 Traits of Great Leaders: How to become a great leader
To become a great leader you will need to hone the skill of connection. You will want to learn how to connect with people, how to connect your people to the vision and mission, and how to connect your team with your customers. Connection is an integral piece to leadership. Without cultivating these important connections of people, purpose, planet, and profit and mobilizing them into action, no momentum can be gained. The pulse of your people will propel you forward.
Being able to communicate your ideas in a compelling, entertaining, inspiring way is crucial to being a strong leader. However, if you analyze a few of the leaders mentioned above, know that sometimes your presence, your actions, and your very being make statements of leadership that communicate louder and clearer than any eloquently spoken words could ever do. Your personality, courage, and heart are strong communicators. Let us not confuse nor place so much emphasis on perfecting our speech that we ignore the many ways in which communication is received. It is often the small, repeated acts done on a daily basis that communicate who you are as a leader. How are you communicating as a leader right now or rather who are you being? Does it inspire greatness and action in others?
Confidence is an owning and knowing exactly who you are, what you are capable of, that you can do it and you are deserving. It is not a faking it until you make it; that has to do with learning how to do something you don’t know already. Leaders must have confidence. When I said you nominate yourself as a leader first, I meant it. Stand up, stick your neck out, and go after what you know you will be damn good at or die trying. Are you owning who you are and what you offer? Do you know beyond any shadow of doubt, and that includes harsh opinions, cruel words, and belittling bullying, that you are absolutely frigging amazing?
Nominate yourself as a leader and help define a new era of great, faceless leadership!