The term “leadership” gets thrown around a fair bit these days. Organisations are always talking about cultivating leaders rather than managers. Some people argue that leaders are born, while others say leaders can be made. So what exactly is it that makes a leader?
First and foremost, I think a leader should be able to inspire their followers. A person who is uninspiring will not be able to capture the imagination of their followers and motivate them to achieve more.
A leader must also be enthusiastic about their cause and love what they do. Being passionate about what you do oozes enthusiasm and people respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication.
The best leaders are also first-rate communicators; they have clear, solid values, and they can communicate these values clearly to their followers. A leader with good, strong values, who can communicate it to their followers, will be able to inspire belief among their followers.
A leader must also have the emotional intelligence required to work with others. Emotional intelligence underlies a leader’s self-awareness, empathy, leadership and resilience. A leader with high emotional intelligence will be able to recognise and respond better to emotions and thus facilitate more productive work environments and better lead and engage their followers.
Last but not least, a leader must know how to delegate tasks to the appropriate people. Empowering your followers, trusting and believing in them will enable them to be responsible for the work that they are doing. Delegating tasks should never be seen as a sign of weakness; instead it should be seen as a sign of strength and that you believe in your team enough to trust them with the important tasks.