It’s hard to know what kind of leader you’re going to need to be until you find yourself in a position where it’s time to take charge. You might have an idea of what kind of leader you’d like to be, but as situations evolve and reality unfolds, you might discover that you have more to learn about being an effective leader than you originally thought.
Leaders are defined by their ability to create clear and concise visions of the future, then drive an entire team towards the same picture. Here are four important leadership lessons you should carry with you as you pursue you head into an unpredictable future.
1. Leadership Is a Choice
Anyone can be promoted into a position of authority, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a leader. Instead, responsibilities and expectations are just tools that are designed to test you as you move through your life. How you respond to these challenges will add to your potential to become an incredible leader, but eventually, you’ll need to decide for yourself whether you’re going to just “respond” to events or inspire them.
Leadership is about making the choice to make a change. While other people can push authority onto you, no-one can make you into a leader but you.
2. Leaders Aren’t Always Loved
Because leaders are forward-thinking people that need to push the boundaries in an existing environment to enact change, it’s easy for others to dislike them. People, in general are comfortable with the status quo of the way things “are”. When leaders come in to show them what things “could be”, it’s not always easy to make the transformation.
Being a leader isn’t always something that goes together with being popular. If you really want to make the most out of your position of leadership, you might need to prepare yourself to rub a few people the wrong way.
3. Leadership Is Difficult to Measure
It can be difficult to measure how much of a leader any individual person might be. After all, different people have a different vision of what “leadership” can be. Without a shared definition of what success should mean, it’s hard to determine whether someone is “leading” a positive change, or just pushing people into the wrong space.
4. Leaders Don’t Work Alone
Finally, as individual as the concept of “leadership” can be, the truth is that most of the best leaders in the world today don’t act as lone-wolf contributors to an idea. The best leaders in any industry must know that extraordinary outcomes don’t come from “I”, but from “we”. Whether you’re starting a new business, pushing a new initiative for a company, or even trying to change the way an industry works, you need to be prepared to work as part of a team, and know when to ask for help.
How do you define leadership as it pertains to your business environment? Are there are any life-changing experiences that pushed you to be more of a leader in your industry?
David Diaz, Director, Davenport Laroche