Cultivating the Leader Inside You

Any leader is a composite of qualities Taking apart that whole and isolating each characteristic allows you to view each section that needs to be concentrated on.

No matter your profession, there will come a time where leadership qualities will be required. It would be wise to invest in developing those characteristics as part of your on-going education.

When learning anything new you have to start with a decision. You have to decide that you can be a leader and then choose to be so. That’s quite a statement if you look it over carefully. It’s like standing at the edge of a bridge with a bungy rope tied to you. You know you’re safe, you know everything is fine right up to the instant you step off the bridge. Then… a whole new set of rules apply like stop screaming, don’t disgrace yourself and stay in control! These thoughts churn through your head all the while hurtling towards the dry river bed below.

Whew! While it was happening it was scary, but now? After it’s all over? Was it really that bad? Now go back to the original leadership decision. Up until you decide, the only person you have to be responsible for is you. After you step off the platform a new world begins All leadership training will never amount to anything if you just go through the motions. Decide first. Then commit to holding the post of leader. A lot of young woman are unsure of their abilities. It’s one thing to read about how it’s done, quite another when all eyes are upon you awaiting your instruction but like bungy jumping, although nerve wracking you do come out the other end. Everyone has the ability to improve their skills The question that must firmly be nailed down is do I really want to be a leader?

Don’t underestimate how powerful you are if you are fighting against the conviction that you can never lead. Spend sometime working out that question. Make a list of all the things you can achieve if you are a leader and all the things you can achieve if you’re not. Ask yourself where you’d like to be in five years time. Would leadership qualities get you that goal? Once the question is fully answered you are ready for the steps that move you towards being a leader.

What is a leader? It is someone who can always be counted upon to guide and assist a group. Before you can guide a group you have to develop forbearance. You may have thought that leading was all about power dressing, looking people confidently in the eyes and walking with your back straight and it’s true, these factors are fairly important.

Sloppy ways creates suspicion and doubt, especially amongst those you are trying to convince of your credentials. But developing leadership qualities is about controlling a group, keeping them together and focused. It’s more about what is happening in the other person than in you. He or she needs guidance. They are all over the place, if they weren’t they wouldn’t need you.

In developing your leadership potential a key virtue to intensify is the ability to tolerate people. Humans come in different packages with all kinds of attendant complications. These include the worrier, the subdued, the overbearing, and the eternal enthusiast. Your job is to find out what there is to like about each one. A high level of tolerance for others makes for a good leader. The leader recognizes that this is her team, her group. If you allow cliques to form or worse – belong to one yourself – then you’re part of the gang, not the one who is leading it. By developing a tolerance of others that do not fit your profile of “acceptable” takes you on a route that includes rather than excludes associates.

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