There has been a debate for years about what makes a leader. This debate has resulted in two schools of thought. One school proposes that leaders are made from a select few unique of individuals, born with a rare set of leadership abilities – leaders are born. The other school of thought proposes that leaders are made, that we learn, grow and develop into leaders – leaders are made.
Many are challenged when asked to define leadership. Whilst challenging, it’s critical you create your own definition.
When lacking a clear definition of leadership it’s impossible to develop the skills necessary to drive superior results. Without a practical definition you have no idea what good leadership looks like. A lack of clarity makes the development of leaders a hit and miss affair, as it’s impossible to know what skills drive superior results.
You cannot become a great leader without self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the ability to accept and proactively use feedback about oneself to improve your leadership skills.
Self-aware leaders are able to respond appropriately to people and situations. Successful leadership involves taking people on a journey into an uncertain future. As such, leadership is not something that can be executed by following a step-by-step recipe. Instead leadership demands you experiment, reflect, learn and adapt to a constantly changing environment.
”In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time — literally — substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.” – Peter Drucker, “Managing Knowledge Means Managing Oneself”, Leader to Leader, No. 16 Spring 2000
In Ancient Greece the philosopher Socrates famously stated at his trial, “the unexamined life is not worth living”. This quote from Socrates comes from Plato’s Apology and is his recollection of the speech Socrates gave to defend himself at his trial. Socrates was accused of not recognising the gods and corrupting the youth of Athens by encouraging them to challenge accepted beliefs and to think for themselves.