“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill
What makes a great leader?
We have all seen many great leaders in our lifetime. Some work for illustrious companies. Others are savvy politicians. You will find them as memorable educators, who we recognize for their effect years later. Some are volunteers in civic and community groups who do good. Scientist labour away in labs often unnoticed until their discoveries matter most. Often, they are seen on the grandest of the world stage, and also largely unseen woven into the fabric of a small community.
Great leaders come in all forms and are in all walks of life. Rarely, are great leaders from the super hyped universe of the idolized celebrities adored in the Hollywood movies or the overpaid stars of the sporting world, but yet, a few have evolved from these domains too.
Some leaders shine only when we need them most, and then disappear when the needs change. So, what traits make a leader great? Here are a few to ponder:
- Focus on a Task
- Contemplation – A Thinker
- Energy to Burn
- Ability to plan – and Adapt
- Remembering the past to not Repeat it
- Vision for the future
- In-tune with the sentiment of the group
- Steady nerves
- Tactile and Strategic
- Worth Ethic
- Unselfish – Others before themselves
Even with a solid blend of these traits, not everyone will become a great and profound leader. Sometimes it just timing, luck, and answering the call for action at the right place and the right time. Often it is a prolonged struggle endured during a difficult journey towards leadership, even when it is not pursued for the sake of leadership itself, the person is found, steps up, and is recognized when necessity calls.
Leadership has nothing to do with fancy titles, seniority, gender, bloodlines, size of pay cheques, or social position. It is all about maximizing group efforts towards a shared vision. It is about communicating this vision so articulately that others can see it, feel it, understand it, embrace it and rally around it. True leadership is about leading others towards idealized goals so we all benefit. Leadership is defined by the good of the many, over the good of the one.
We all need leadership during these troubling times. Are you the leader that we need? Will you answer the call? Are you our leader?