Some people say that anyone can be a leader. Which is wholly true, but the fact is that not everyone is a leader. Being a leader is a conscious choice that people will have to make. Everyone may be born with the potential to become a leader but only a few actually explore it and become one.
So, how do you know if you are a leader? Well, according to Beau Parnell, a leadership consultant, the answer is “look over your shoulder and see if anyone is there.”
Now, funny as it may seem, the statement made by Parnell is the truth. For one to be a leader, you need to have people willingly trust and follow you. Your ability to draw these people and have them willingly follow your decisions and your actions is what will set you apart from others. Often, leaders don’t need the trappings of formal power to make people listen to them. Leaders naturally draw people in, and when leaders speak people are drawn to listen to them.
You might be wondering though if there are natural leaders with formal power. Of course there are, these are the charismatic people that you find in the office. They can be supervisors, managers, or upper level executives who exude a natural charisma that make their direct reports that much more willing to follow them. In turn, there are also natural leaders like peer leaders who do not have a recognised position over others but their peers often look to them for guidance.
Going back to the statement that anyone can be a leader, you might be asking if leadership then can be developed. Definitely, leadership can be developed with the right guidance and coaching from someone who knows what traits need to be cultivated in a leader. But, before all the learning and coaching takes place, the most important part of becoming a leader is consciously wanting to be one. Leadership can be learned, but only if the person is willing to learn in the first place.
Then, you’ll know you’re a leader once you see people willingly follow you. You’ll know it when you look behind you and see a line of people willingly trusting you and recognising you as their leader.
Being a leader takes a lot of responsibilities as well as the grace in handling or managing people around you. Check and Download Our Free Coaching Reports that might be helpful in developing your leadership skills. I have a blog that is Coaching Blog which I share my experiences as an Executive, Corporate and Life Coach. Please do take time to read it.