Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
Leadership is about influence. If you can influence people, you are exerting leadership. Hence, anyone can lead in an organization — you do not have to have a title to do so. In fact, as organizations continue to redefine the way they operate, people are being asked to take more responsibility and initiative — all key leadership attributes. As you prepare for a leadership role in your organization, measure yourself against these attributes:
Leaders have a clear vision of where they are going. And they don't keep their vision a secret — they share it with those around them in the hope of mobilizing them to move in the same direction.
Leaders are consistent. They are true to their principles and values at all times.
Leaders are not threatened by competence. Outstanding peers energize them. And they are quick to give credit to those who have earned it.
Leaders enjoy seeing others around them increase their skills and confidence. They share their knowledge to enable colleagues to take on more challenging tasks and responsibilities.
Leaders don't betray trust. They can treat confidential information professionally.
Leaders are concerned about getting things done. They don't get embroiled in political infighting, gossip, and back-stabbing. They encourage those around them to do likewise.
Leaders confront issues as they arise. They don't procrastinate. If something needs fixing, they do it right away, even if it's uncomfortable. The longer things are left, the more difficult they become.
Leaders recognize superior performance. They are generous with praise to the person concerned and to others who should know.
Leaders are flexible. They welcome change. They don't stick to an old position simply because it is more comfortable.
Leaders are adaptable. They see change as an opportunity rather than a threat.
Leaders are human. They make mistakes. When they do so, they readily admit it.
Leaders enjoy being challenged. They are prepared to take risks and encourage others to do the same. If they fail, they treat the exercise as a learning experience.
Leaders focus on the future, not the past. They anticipate trends and prepare for them.
Leaders are open to new ideas. They demonstrate their receptiveness by supporting change.
Leaders treat staff members as individuals. They give closer attention to those who need it, and lots of space to those who deserve it.
Leaders encourage and reward co-operation within and between teams.
Leaders develop guidelines for the team. They enlarge the guidelines as the team becomes willing to accept more responsibility.
Leaders change their role according to the demands of the team. For example, they function more as coaches or facilitators when needed.
Leaders listen to fellow team members. They don't interrupt others, and they allow themselves to be influenced.
Leaders involve people in finding new ways to achieve goals.
Leaders create the opportunity for group participation, recognizing that only team members can make the choice to participate.