The difference between a true leader of man and one who lead by the rule of authority or that of an iron fist is perhaps most evident in the respect that each gets from the general populace. True leaders lead by example, are incorruptibe and appeals to the people he leads through his actions, deeds, charisma and above all, his high moral standing and righteousness. A true leader indeed is hard to come by because the path to the top for some people involves compromising one's integrity to achieve one's ends. And above all, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and for someone to be at the pinnacle of his career, political or otherwise, and still remains untainted by scandals and such is indeed rare.
So, what makes a great leader? Leadership exists all around us, and when we speak of leaders we should refrain from conjuring up in our minds the likes of Sun Yat-Sen, Abraham Lincoln or other great men of history. At the level of a corporate environment, leaders of successful businesses, managers and supervisors alike exhibit their own unique leadership traits. Gone are the days in the corporate world, where one leads by absolute authority because such forms of leadership are unsustainable. People observe, and make particular judgement about the superior to whom they report to, and if one lacks the qualification and experience coupled with interpersonal relationship skills, it is unlikely that such a leader, manager or whoever he is, can sustain himself or herself in that position of power. The qualities that make a good leader would necessarily encompass personality traits like been knowledgeable in his specific field of expertise, having not just the textbook understanding of his trade but also years of practical experience, and the sensitivity to relate to staff at every level of employment. He should have a good understanding of both the internal dynamics of the company which he can exercise control over, as well as the external dynamics in terms of the competition and the market where he has limited control over and thus seeks to adapt. Successful executives tend to be good leaders because it is through teamwork that a corporation strive and thrive, and without leadership the business will falter, needless to say.
Leaderships qualities are also evident in school, in our classroom and if we observe closely enough, the class leaders amongst us display a sense of urgency in carrying out their duties. These students, at their tender age, are fortunate to be given such responsibilities because this is the perfect training ground for building up leadership qualities.
We all need leaders among us. Great leaders have a good measure of both intellectual as well as emotional quotient. And the ones I admire most are the ones who remain humble and unassuming despite having made great strides in their own arena. The collective resourcefullness of people can have its effect multiplied many times over if they are managed by an exemplary leader who would motivate everyone in the same direction towards their goal.
So, look around you, and look within yourself as well. Perhaps, hitherto hidden within you are great leadership qualities awaiting to be realized. Perhaps within you lies the untapped potential of leadership qualities. Explore yourself, follow your inner voice, and rise up to the occassion. Never again say no to any worthwhile challenge ahead of you and maybe to your wonderful delight, one day you will stand amongst the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
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