Leaders are forged, not born
One of the biggest myths in the business world is that leaders are born. Genetics may be responsible for many things, jawlines, height, eye and hair colour, but they only account for about 30% of our leadership capabilities. Instead, leadership is a set of skills that can be learned through training, perception, practice and experience over time.
What makes a good leader?
What is really under discussion here is not what makes a leader, but what makes a ‘good’ leader? The two stand out qualities of the best leaders is that they’re good at both structure and consideration. They listen to people, hear, understand and create empathy, then support the people they lead to achieving their goals. An essential key to becoming a good leader is learning and emulating the thoughts and actions of previous ‘good’ leaders. Furthermore, good leaders become proficient in their role and skills, as well as understanding the motivations and behaviours of others.
The ‘accidental manager’
‘Accidental managers’ are people who are highly skilled, hard-working and loyal team members that ‘find’ themselves in a leadership role. They are thrown into the deep end, often with no support, training or guidance, and may struggle to cope with the dramatic shift in their role. Going from ‘accidental manager’ to a good leader is not impossible, but it is challenging. With the right support, resources and networks, they can transition into leadership roles and go on to achieve great success. The important thing to remember is that while we can’t do anything about our starting point, we can do a great deal about how far we progress from there.
The ‘intentional manager’
It’s okay to ‘accidentally’ fall into a management position, many accomplished leaders started there, however, increasingly employers are looking for ‘intentional leaders’. ‘Intentional leaders’ are committed to the lifelong learning and development journey. They consistently demonstrate their commitment to management and leadership as a profession – not just a role. And they seek out development opportunities that will help them learn new skills. Moreover, an ‘intentional leader’ is not the most skilled, but rather someone who has continued to cultivate their skills even after stepping into their position.