Leadership is an interactive process that provides needed guidance and direction. It could be further defined as non-coercive, accepted influence; that is to say that it is the exercise of interpersonal and intrapersonal influence in a given situation, directed toward the attainment of goals or objectives.
Regardless of discipline; business, political science, psychology, education, history, , public administration, management, community studies, law, medicine, anthropology, military sciences, philosophy, sociology etc.; They all demand a form of leadership. There may be varying views depending on the discipline and schools of thought, but in the end they all lead to the conclusion that: it is non-coercive, accepted influence over self and others.
As opposed to the General notion that leaders are born and not made, Leadership can be learnt and developed over time just like any other discipline through much learning, interest and practice.
The contemporary emphasis on leadership is that it has to create more leaders than followers. It must be able to empower others to tap into what lies in them through guidance and direction.
Divergent as the views may be on what characterizes a leader, however, below are overarching perspectives on the character of a leader:
Vision: to be able to see beyond the current the ordinary, the only way to provide guidance
Courage: the ability to make critical decisions and be bold enough to face the challenges and assure the team.
Innovative and Creative: the ability to think outside the trend and take on new paths
Self-confidence: To lead others one must have the confidence to inspire trust in the guidance been given to the group.
Self-Control and strength of Character: Leaders have learnt to control emotions and delay gratification. This critical for respect and the non-coercive guidance
Thoughtful and listener: They mull through the situation knowing the decision to be made while open to advice.
Humility & Kindness: To lead others, team goals must be put above personal ego.
Emotionally Intelligent: Dealing with groups must come with the consciousness that it is made up of individuals with human needs. Leaders understand this too well. This is critical to providing motivation and inspiration
Excellent Communicators (Charisma): Every leader knows that words coupled with a sense of passion can influence people beyond anything else. To be able to inspire others, a leader must have mastery of words as much he is able to act.
These characteristics may not be exhaustive, albeit overarching and worth building in any leader or would-be leader.
For Posterity to have a better crop of leaders there must be a mindset change that will be driven to learn, develop and practice a form of leadership that will inspire change, drive innovations and transform societies for the common good of society. Otherwise, this and the next generation risks suffering from the greatest insanity of imploring the same methods while expecting different results.
Critical to this kind of transformational leadership, is that it must begin from within. It must be developing character instead of personality. When people are developed from within, it becomes easy to manifest to the outside in a way that’s value adding to the group and society.
To achieve this, we must begin to prepare RIGHT and NOW! So that posterity may experience the manifestation of a greater generation of transformational, innovative and change-embracing leaders.
“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”