Leaders of Yesterday and Today
Knowledge, wisdom, strength, an outgoing personality, patience, visions? Are you a leader? Do you consider yourself to be leader? What qualifies any one person to be a leader? One of the most important things to remember when talking about leadership, is that not all leaders are the same.
Leadership an attribute for anyone:
I was always told I was a great leader. Me, I thought? No way! I am quiet, reserved, a person with very little to contribute. But yet, my friends think of me as a leader. I always considered myself to be a follower. I hated leadership positions, and did anything and everything to avoid them.
A quote from John Quincy Adams drastically changed my opinion and opened my eyes to what real leadership is all about. "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."--John Quincy Adams. That's it? If our actions do these four things, that makes us a leader? Hard to believe? Maybe so, but the truth is immanent, leaders are everywhere. From political parties, government officials, to families, each institution, each union has a leader.
I talked to a friend just the other day and she told me that I am a quite leader. I have a sharp mind, and a listening ear, that is open to both sides of a debate and for these two reasons that makes me a good leader. I am always willing to lend a helping hand, and be there to teach, listen, guide, and give advice to a friend in need. I may not lead a nation, but I do lead those around me in small ways.
Not all leaders hold powerful positions in society. Having power, money, and authority doesn’t qualify anyone to be a great leader. Many of today’s political “leaders” have failed us, and rightfully so. We as a society expect too much from our leaders. We want them to change the world while we sit back and watch them fail and then complain about what terrible leaders they are. If our great political leaders don’t inspire us, are they really leaders at all?
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."— John Quincy Adams
10 Qualities of Effective Leaders:
- Confidence: Part of a leader's job is to maintain a strong, steady, and confident work environment. When a leader keeps a confident attitude the team members will follow suite. Confidence is the key to keeping everyone moving forward and working towards the common goals. A confident leader is a respected leader.
- Communication: Open communication is of utmost importance when leading. Communication is not only about talking with your team, it's also how well you can listen and express the views and concerns of your group. Having the ability to listen as well as talk is the key to great communication. As a leader you are in charge of all the information circulating around the office, for each individual projects, and between employees and employers. An effective leader will be able to manage all sorts of communication and can provide mulitple ways to share this information with their team.
- Honesty: Leaders need to be honest. Employees can detect when they are being lied to or cheated from. A dishonest leader leads to dishonest employees.
- Integrity: Everyone wants a leader that is not only honest, but one that is fair. Upholding integrity and treating employees with respect will get you far. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Commitment: If you want your team to work hard and produce quality work you can all be proud of, you need to lead by example. If the leader is not commited to the project, how can they expect that kind of commitment from their workers? By proving your commitment to the work you are not only showing your dedication and hard work, but you are instilling the same type of work ethic onto your employees.
- Inspirational: The very best leaders are those that can inspire others. Having the ability to inspire others helps everyone to focus on future goals while currently working on the task at hand. Inspire everyone involved to be the best they can be, and to invest in the team. Through inspiration your team can see the visions you have set forth for the company.
- Postitive: Creating a positive work environment keeps your team motivated and working toward common end goals. A postitive attitude can also help keep moral and positive energy flowing, allowing everyone to focus on the task at hand and keep their productivity up.
- Optimistic: An effective leader is going to be one that is not only positive, but optimisitic. They will lift up their team and seek out positive and noteworthy attributes in all their members. An optimistic leader with a vision can turn any situation into a learning opportunity.
- Decisive: No one wants to make the hard decisions, or be in charge of a large group of like minded peers. However, a decisive leader will not only earn the respect of their workers, but they will be able to delegate and make quick decisions when needed. A decisive leader that is able to hand out tasks, assignments, and react quickly without backing down, will be one that everyone can look up to and admire.
- Creative: A creative leader has the ability to make and change ideas at the drop of a hat. Not everything is going to go as planned, and it's times like these that a creative mind will prove to be effective. As a leader it's important to be able to adjust and change the mind set when things start going in a different direction. For this reason, a leader should be able to think outside of the box and come up with multiple different solutions to fix or adjust the plan.
Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill are recognized around the world as two of the greatest leaders in history. Why? They were courageous fighting for what they believed in, yet they took time to bring in others along the way. Abraham Lincoln was known for listening to all viewpoints and learning while on the job, he was capable of change in himself as well as in others and ultimately the world. Winston Churchill cared for more than just himself and his country. He cared about the world and fought for it, leaving everlasting effects in his place.
Why were Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill so successful then when it seems like so many of today’s leaders are being mocked, criticized, and belittled? Then people backed their leaders, through the good and the bad, they believed in the power of change and dreams. It wasn’t every man for himself. Today things go wrong we blame the leadership and find someone new, there is no commitment, nothing that ties us to what we once wanted. Today we struggle for power, money, and the ability to lead ourselves. As a society we don’t want to be told what to do, rather we want to tell leaders what they should do. How they should lead.
Leaders of Tomorrow:
Leader’s need people to follow them, to choose today to step out and change the world with them. It is not enough to elect a leader and say go ahead we picked you now change all the bad and find the good. Leaders need our help, and we need leaders.
Whether you're a politician, staff at church or work, parent, teacher, etc we all need to carry ourselves as leaders of tomorrow. It's important to listen, encourage, and be capable of change. Our children need leaders of today that can be leaders of tomorrow and ultimately leaders of a lifetime. Draw encouragement and wisdom from the worlds greatest leaders and never give up hope.
As I sit here and reflect what this quote says I think back to all the times when my actions disappointed others, let others down. Leader’s are humans too and make mistakes. It’s the times we get back up brush off our guilt, shame, fear, etc and strive to pick ourselves up and start again. Not everyone is going to be an Abraham Lincoln, but Abraham like qualities can be found in us all.
Everyone has the ability to become a leader, all you have to do is believe in yourself.