By Robert Thibodeau
Leadership is something that is a fundamental part of a society. It does not matter what country you are in or what business you research – somebody is going to step up and take charge. Although leaders are needed in all segments of society, that does not mean everyone is a leader.
You have heard that leaders are “made and not born.” That statement is 100% true. Leadership is taught. Sometimes it is taught “on the job” and other times it is a more formal education. But nobody is “born a leader.” That is the claim of some third world dictators who try to put their family into all of the power positions. But in the free world, leaders are identified by what the “do” and not by their pedigree.
As a matter of fact, some individuals are not made to be leaders at all. They just do not have what it takes to be leaders. They are followers. If everybody was a leader, no work would be done. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians and nobody eats. The way society picks its leaders varies. Sometimes, military leaders also make great business leaders. Sometimes not. Sometimes great business leaders make great political leaders. Sometimes not. Sometimes great military leaders make great political leaders. Sometimes not.
So, what leadership role are you going to play in your life?
Some people have a personality type that seems to want to “take charge” in various situations. These people can become leaders very easily with the right training. Without the correct training, they will be referred to as “arrogant” or “stuck on themselves” by their subordinates.
Some people who take to leadership and receive the proper training can be very effective in their roles in society. They can lead change in their business. They can effect positive gains in society because people are willing to follow them. You can identify these potential leaders by just sitting back and observing their interaction with others. They take charge on the ball field; they always respond first in classes; they take the lead when things need to be accomplished at work. These people are very active in life and enjoy “tweaking” things to make them better!
But, not all leaders come naturally. Many must attend formalized training to develop the skills necessary to become a successful leader in their choice of career field and in society as a whole.
Some aspiring leaders will take classes to become leaders (U.S. Military Academies; ROTC programs; Business classes, etc.). While all of this sounds simple, do not be fooled! It takes a lot of work to become a successful leader. If you are taking classes, you will not become a successful leader by sleeping with your books under you pillow! It will take hard work to learn how to interact with others and allow them to “decide” to follow your lead.
Because leaders are selected by those who they are leading (even in the military, Law Enforcement, etc. – just because someone has the rank does not mean they have the respect of those they “lead.” Respect only comes from demonstrated ability to lead. Especially when people are going to trust their life to the leader) it is important the leader knows the job he is expected to hold.
Some leaders will emerge during times of emergency. Their actions during times when everyone else is in shock or under stress will draw people to them. They are taking charge of the situation long before anyone else even reacts. Their cool head in the high stress situations allows them to see what needs to be done quickly, to save lives and property.
While other people are freaking out, crying, panicking or simply sitting in one place because of shock, a leader will step up and begin to help the injured, organizing search parties, etc. Even without the formal training offered to leaders, some people do posses the personality to take charge.
That does not mean they should automatically be made into leaders once the emergency is over. But it could mean this person has the ability to become a great leader, with the appropriate training.
Part of a leaders job is to identify those under his or her authority and begin to train them for the next level of leadership. This is probably one of the more important roles a leader has to perform. For as the current leader prepares for succession and promotion, often, a deciding factor for your superiors will be “who takes over when you are not longer there?”
It would be a tragedy if you were passed over for a promotion because you were “protecting your job” so much that you failed to prepare someone to take your place so you could be promoted.
Leadership is the basic, fundamental principle that drives every facet of society. It really does not matter where you live or what organization you are a part of. Leaders emerge. Leaders step up. Leaders prevail.
Are you – A Leader?
I will be continuing this conversation in this series on “Leadership in Our Society.” For more information, please visit my website at http://www.bobthibodeau.com. I am also a Professional Public Speaker and would love to communicate with you about the opportunity to come and share some keen insights on “Leadership” and “Team Training” with your group. Use the contact form inside the website for more information.