According to the late, great, leadership guru and eminent scholar Warren Bennis, leadership is “the capacity to translate vision into reality”. Or if you prefer the American author John Maxwell’s definition, a leader is a person who “knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” This sounds all well and good, but according to a recent Deloitte report, lack of strong leadership is one of the urgent concerns facing organisations around the world. Are you a leader? Or do you prefer to follow others? Below are some tell-tale signs to help you reflect on whether you’re a leader.
If you’re a leader:
- You’ll be an initiator of things. You’re the one who typically drives a project; you don’t need to be encouraged or induced to do so.
- You’re intuitive by nature. Once you know the general direction for a project, you can pretty much carry it through to completion with little direction.
- You don’t rely on the approval of others and are likely to feel excitement rather than apprehension when ‘stepping into the unknown’.
- You’ll push for action and will feel frustration if things don’t appear to be moving in the (your) desired direction.
- Your natural high level of energy will ensure you reach the finish line and, if you must, you’ll carry others along with you.
- You thrive on change and dislike the status quo. Change is as an opportunity, not a threat.
- You have little patience for convoluted explanations and theories that frustrate progress. Your preference is to cut through the debate or argument and offer a solution or proposal that propels people towards action.
- You make decisions quickly and confidently, and enjoy the courage of your convictions. A ‘stop sign’ ‘en route’ is merely another hurdle to be circumvented or driven through.
- You’re passionate and focused. You know that “a man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” (Max Lucado).
- You’re an innovator. You enjoy trying new things and, although you may experience failure in the process, you’ll quickly learn from the experience and use it as a springboard to other innovations.
- You’ll often be viewed as impatient, but by your interpretation, you simply want to get things done. Accompanying this quality are others’ perceptions of your being overbearing, ruthless and blunt.
- You embrace responsibility and are motivated by your busy schedule. A hectic workload is likely to be viewed by you as a natural (and welcome) consequence of work, which you can handle.
- You have a keen sense of ‘doing what needs to be done’ regardless of your inclination. You’re a doer; it’s part of your ‘DNA’.
- You’re highly results-oriented. Although you appreciate the importance of attributes such as likeability, for you, success is the main objective.
Now that you’ve read through the above list, would you describe yourself as a leader? Or are you a follower? It’s often said that the best leaders are also followers - just to give you something more to chew on. What do you think?
Main image via Pinterest