Why does one choose to lead? Are leaders born or do they learn to lead? What separates a manager from a leader? What is the difference between an average, a good and a great leader? Regardless of the capacity in which one works in, there are only a handful of personal traits and characteristics in which truly defines why one leads and is great at it.
I think and suppose individuals make a conscious decision to want to be a leader, but from where one has this calling, it is probably safe to assume it comes from their childhood upbringing, their experiences and the people they are fortunate to have as mentors. To this end as a Marine, there is only one motto in which we were taught, you either choose to lead, follow or get out of the way!
Authentic leaders and great leaders shy away from acclaim, glory, prestige and praise. They lead with the unselfish intentions of not accomplishing great things to mark their places in history but to create systems, strengthen individual and collective human capacity, and to build advantageous additions of any nature to society for the good of mankind. They seek and defer the attention and limelight of accomplishments to those for whom they lead. They serve others unselfishly for the betterment and empowerment of their following. They are compassionate toward all others while being passionate about their service and efforts in which they are giving and providing others.
A truly great leader's integrity is unquestioned and beyond reproach. Their fellowship and followers know without hesitation they can be counted on and trusted in all crisis. Instead of inspiring others to follow and have confidence in them, they inspire, teach and motivate others to become the best of leaders themselves.
Awesome leaders demonstrate by actions not just words. They always do the right thing realizing that only those who manage are supposed to be doing things right. They appreciate and understand, while practicing daily in every action and word, that everyone matters equally. Every human being is important regardless. They entitle all to respect while practicing enviable humility at all times.
A great leader is easily recognizable by the way they interact and treat those who are indeed less fortunate. They go out of their way, and above and beyond, to do all in their power to treat and assist those who are in need and suffering. They realize and keep to the calling if one of their followers is not a success, it is the leader themselves who is the one in which has failed. When they make a mistake they admit it, and while helping their following to do the same, they seek solutions to correct mistakes.
Great leaders are non judgmental. They have great aptitude in being able to look into the souls of other human beings. They have an almost uncanny ability to tap into the desires and needs of all others, and while recognizing this they do all in their power to bring out the best in everyone. They consistently maintain an attitude and presence in which is solid and unwavering even in the midst of chaos and disarray.
The greatest of all leaders have the propensity to stay calm and composed during the most stressful of times and even in the midst of death all around. They realize that by doing so they empower their following to be able to do the same. For if they were not able to, it would cause both catastrophe and panic itself.
With all the great leaders in history as well as all of the thousands of books on leadership, these are a few of my thoughts on leadership. I hope I was able to provide some direction and guidance to my colleagues and readers on defining and finding who they ultimately want to be...