"The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
- John Maxwell
Leadership has always been important, from the beginning of time to this day. The world will always need leaders – people who inspire you, who show you the right path, who give you a hand when you struggle and who can envision the whole picture before anyone else. That is why being a leader is not an easy task, especially when it comes to big scale leadership, let’s say of a company with 500+ employees.
Imagine coordinating essential processes and making decisions which can reflect on all those people, their career paths and maybe even their personal lives. It is a bit scary to think in this way, but unfortunately leadership holds just as many responsibilities as it has advantages. No matter the field of your work in the future, leaders are needed everywhere. Are you suitable for this? What does it mean to be a good leader? In this article we would like to summarize good and bad patterns of leadership.
What is a "leader"?
If you ask Google or Cambridge Dictionary, the answer is quite simple:
“a person who manages or controls other people, esp. because of his or her ability or position”
But is it all about control? Of course, a leader must be fully in charge, yet this explanation is quite simplistic, shrank to a tiny scale of what being a leader actually is. What about being innovative, helpful, creating an inspiring vision of the future? Leaders are the brain, yet a brain cannot function by itself. If you want to be a leader you must know how to appreciate and respect your employees, how to show them the right path and how to encourage them. Every leader became one because he or she believes in something – imagine the task of making tens, hundreds or thousands of people follow you. You have an idea of a product which could change the world? Then inspire others around you, build a team and push towards success.
How do I build/polish the required qualities?
Leadership skills are most of the time acquired – rarely anyone is born to lead. There are indeed people who are quite good at it in the first place, yet they also need some polishing and adjustments in order to become good leaders and role models. Attending courses, talks and workshops is essential if you’re striving to be a leader. Not only will you further educate yourself but you will also meet people who can become part of your network that later on will be essential for your career. Start reading articles and books on leadership, watch short movies and inspirational videos and take notes.
Unacceptable behavior of a leader
Shouting at your employees? Giving out tasks with impossible deadlines? Are you a leader or a tyrant? As a leader, your communication has to be spot-on. You must be able to present your opinions, feelings and ideas in the best possible way – without humiliating anyone in the process. Some people believe that it is not so easy to invoke respect, yet remain completely nice, but little do they realize that the most respectful features of a leader are kindness, calmness, and the ability to understand the situation & properly analyze the possible outcomes. Ruslan Fazlyev, CEO and founder of e-commerce solutions provider Ecwid, has said that in all your communications, it's important to be genuine above all else. According to him, "There are many leadership styles; there's no right and wrong," he said. "But there's genuine, and there's fake. There's no following to fake leadership." Open-mindedness, positivity, flexibility and genuine communication is well-appreciated by every human being in every field of work on this planet. Acting poorly with partners and employees will get you almost nowhere – and even if it does, will it be worth it if everyone speaks ill of you?
Overall, leadership is not easy and is not for everyone. But just like other human beings, leaders can also bump into issues and make a mistake, go in the wrong direction or perform poorly on different occasions. It is essential to remember that we are all human beings – you, your future employers and employees, your partners and your assistants. Never forget where you’ve come from, who you are and what you’re fighting for. After all, we are all following a dream.