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What does it mean to be a Leader?
Responsibility is one big word. Some people are allergic to it while others just love the thought of being given a special task that concerns handling responsibility. There are various theories about how a good leader is shaped. A school of thought asserts that it’s all in the genes while another argues that it is all in how a person is nurtured.
But setting this conflict of thoughts aside, being a leader is indeed a challenge. As a leader, you hold a crucial position because you are not only responsible for the output of your team but also the members of the team. It is said that of all creatures, handling humans is the most difficult. That is why sometimes, accepting such position requires courage and determination. Although its something one can be proud of, it is also a thing to be feared as you assumes the spotlight.
The Catch of taking the lead
True, when you are a leader, it is as if many people look up to you. Fame, money, friends, influence and power come pouring. You’ll receive praise, commendations and greetings. It can be the road to greatness and stardom! But in every glory there is always a catch. A leader leads the pack and whenever a pack takes the wrong turn, it is always the leader who gets the hard blow. Just one mistake can ruin everything. Just one small hole or a small stain can turn the lights out. That’s what makes leadership a bad thing to mess with.
But when you handle things right, then the good things can continue coming. It’s all in your hands on how you are able to make it possible. In fact, there are many great leaders who maintained their names unstained.
Roles you have to play
The term leadership takes a lot of meanings. Unless a person learns how to play the different roles of an effective leader, such leadership can never be effective. When you accept the challenge, you also accept the possibility of being stripped off from your kingly wardrobe and like in a theatre, you need to play the character assigned to you. By doing this, a leader can recognize the weakness and the strengths of each of his member and of the group as a whole. The following are roles a leader should be ready to take over.
- Listener- this almost sounds a cliché but what can we do? This term works just like magic man! You can learn so much from listening. A leader, no matter how grand and majestic he feels must lend an ear to his member. This is the secret recipe of having a harmonious relationship not only within a group but for anyone who has a relationship. A leader who listens gets to know his members well. He gets ideas, suggestions and comments in a positive way and use them for the betterment of the group. A highly autocratic system may lead to increase of unsatisfactory performance of the team.
- Pacifier- when you are a leader, you also have to take your role as a pacifier, like a mother keeping the peace between her children. In a team, having conflicts and disagreements are common. It may be between members or between you and your members. Always keep your head cool and keep in mind that nothing can be resolved when there is blaming, shouting and cursing. These are trivial but very important matters that should be handled well by a leader. Taking the driver’s seat requires you to instruct your passengers to fasten their seat belt so all of you can get to your destination. A good leader is one who effectively keeps the peace within the team.
- Planner- planning may be a separate task but leaders too can take this job on their own hands. When you plan, you have your mind in the team as a whole. This is why leaders do much of the planning because they are the ones who know the team in a package. They know where they are headed to and they know too the strengths of each member. As an overseer of the whole team, a leader can roll all the advantages and weigh it with the disadvantages and decide the best move to take.
- Motivator- a leader also has to take the role of a coach or a father encouraging his son during a soccer game. Members are humans who blush when praised, who smile when noticed and who laugh when patted on the shoulder. Motivation is a spice essential in teamwork. If you want your members to do their best, don’t fail to recognize their achievements, their accomplishments and the pride they gave to the team as a whole. It does not necessarily mean giving them a trophy or a certificate of recognition. Just a thumbs up, a pat, a greeting and a personal message can make a big difference to their performance. It basically makes them feel special and important.
Be a good member too
You may be the leader of a herd, but in a bird’s eye view, you will always be a member of the group too. Don’t put yourself in a high chair before others. Instead, be a leader who knows how to stoop down, someone who knows how to socialize with his members just like an ordinary man with no badge at all. This is one open secret of getting the trust and loyalty of your members. You have to let them know that you are there for them, that they can approach you when needed. However, you should also be cautious in doing so as there are some people who seem to abuse this type of kindness.
Be a Leader in Words and Deeds
Setting as a good example is the best tool to be in command over others. The words you speak and the deed you show should not be in conflict with each other. The more respect you gain, the stronger your hold on them remains. Besides, you cannot expect a person to follow one who does not know how to follow rules too. Don’t just speak the principles you want your members to follow- instead, live it!
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© 2013 Lanao G