Leading to the Future

“The most difficult problems to see often are those in the mirror”

Photo by Ngaere Woodford-Bender

By John Dunia

Leadership is a quality in high demand these days. It is so great that a new industry has spawned to fill that need. There are classes, books, courses, and coaches who specialize in molding, shaping and creating leaders for every aspect of life. Good leaders can profoundly change a circumstance from bleak to victorious by inspiring others and bring out the best in those whom they serve. Is it possible, however, that its modern-day definition is changing and getting away from how a true leader defined?

Becoming a leader may not always be a choice. Some have risen quickly through the ranks simply because there was a void to fill while others toiled tirelessly to reach that level. It is not a position available to just anyone and in many cases, can create more difficulties than triumphs. However, leaders are essential in creating and maintaining a productive and meaningful society.

Take a few moments and define for yourself what your ideals of an effective leader are. Some are very obvious. Qualities such as honesty, integrity, and hard working may be glaringly evident, but what are some of the outstanding attributes needed in order for you to be led by them?

Naturally, we tend to be attracted to standards which are similar to or suit our beliefs. It would stand to reason that the more a leader supports our line of thinking, the more apt we are to be united under his or her leadership. Conversely, when they exhibit views which conflict with ours, depending on how strongly we feel, our objections can be aggressive and ferocious.

No leader can embody only those traits which we deem relevant mainly because we would differ on what must be included in that list. However, there are certain characteristics which seemingly should be apparent.

First of all, a leader is there to lead. Those being led should not be used as pawns; easily disposed or taken advantage of. Many are drawn to dynamic personalities and are enamored by showmanship and style. While this may be alluring, it shouldn’t promote actions or a need to constantly tout a list of accomplishments and perceived wins.

Leaders rarely need to convince others they are doing great because that is not their purpose. Standing up for the good of the group takes precedence over what suits the person in charge and mocking any rivals is a huge indication of self-doubt and low self-esteem.

A good leader often seeks the advice of others who have traveled similar paths and doesn’t assume he or she has all the qualifications needed to perform that job better than anyone has or ever will. But perhaps one of the most important virtues leaders possess is inspiring future leaders; mentoring those to surpass even what they themselves have attained.

Not everyone gets the opportunity to become a leader so when that occasion arises, a leader should demonstrate behaviors which most people may not have the courage or ability to achieve.

Many thanks to Ngaere Woodford-Bender for the beautiful photo. As always, I look forward to your comments.

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