Have you ever wondered how to become a leader if you're not what you'd consider "leadership material"? Can anyone be a leader?

Simply stated, anyone can become a leader by having the ability and desire to take on such a role; and by having the opportunity to step into or create the role. Some people just seem better equipped for leadership, of course, but I like to think that we can all be leaders in any area in which we feel a sense of passion and investment.

The old “nature versus nurture” debate need not be a debate. The answer to any question that ponders which of these is responsible for anything is “both”. And this holds true with leadership as well: some leaders are appear to be born, and some appear to be made. Entrepreneurs and individuals who rise quickly and seamlessly through the ranks, for example, are often natural-born leaders. The “made” leader is often the individual who has been promoted because of his exceptional technical skills and knowledge. But even so, “natural-born” leaders need an environment that allows their leadership to take form; and individuals who are molded into successful leaders tend to possess some inherent traits that make their success possible.

So first and foremost, the aspiring leader needs to have a great degree of self-awareness and introspection. Leadership looks different on different levels – from the management of things to the management of people; from managing parts of the system to creating a vision for the entire interplay of systems. The aspiring leader needs to know where her interests truly lie; and she needs to understand her inherent strengths and weaknesses. She needs to know where she will be capable of growing; and which structures, systems, and environments will best support her development.

There is a big difference between “management” skills and “leadership skills”. Leaders may or may not be good managers; but they should learn (or learn to delegate). A good manager should also learn to be good leader: he should be able to manage “things and processes” as well as interact effectively with the people who make up the work unit or organization. He should be able to do the hands-on work on the ground level, while simultaneously thinking from the perspective of the larger system.

So again, anyone can be a leader; but the conditions need to be right. The aspiring leader’s success depends on her present knowledge and skills; but even more importantly on the combination of who she is, what she wants, what she can create, and what will support her. Becoming a leader takes a deep awareness of internal and external realities, dynamics, and possibilities; as well as the desire and ability to constantly learn and grow.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Hammer, Ph.D. is a certified professional coach and licensed psychologist. He offers leadership and life coaching services, as well as various self-development tools for people who are passionate about reaching higher levels of success and becoming the best they can be.

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