Everyone has the capacity to lead because everyone has the ability to influence others. Though few people are born as leaders. Leadership is a skill that is developed over time, through practice and hard work.
Because everyone has the capacity to lead, each of you is powerful in your own way. Simply defined, leadership is the ability to influence others to act and to motivate them to get things done. Individuals typically ascend to a position of leadership by exercising power in one of three ways: personality, knowledge or position.
While being charismatic and smart with a powerful job title may help you achieve a position of leadership, these attributes won’t make you an effective leader. That’s why it’s important to refine personal characteristics of a true leader. I call these characteristics the 7 C’s of leadership:
- Character. John Maxwell says, “Adversity is a crossroad that makes a person choose one of two paths: character or compromise.” Leaders face crossroads everyday, and it’s your character that will demonstrate your integrity. It’s your character that will influence others to trust and follow you.
- Courage. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Courageous leaders take are willing to do what is unpopular or seemingly risky to ensure the best possible outcome for those they lead.
- Commitment. In life, you will face hills and valleys, victory and loss, success and failure. With commitment you are able to lead through any situation knowing that unwavering perseverance gets you through.
- Cautious Attentiveness. A good leader needs to be accurately informed. You need facts and data, but you also need awareness. Often the most important information is born from your intuition. Learn to assess the hard facts alongside the unspoken facts in every situation.
- Connectability. A person without followers is not a leader. To engage and influence others, you must be able to develop meaningful relationships with others. Seek to understand and connect with others. Develop relationships with people whom you can mentor and mentored by.
- Contribution to the Welfare of Others. Great leaders give. They look beyond themselves and are willing to serve others. Their desire to give comes from the heart. It’s genuine. As a result, those they lead want to give back.
- Creative Perception. According to Maxwell, “Vision leads the leader .. Show me a leader without vision, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t going anywhere.” Strong leaders see beyond the past or present circumstances. Their vision is clear and they know how to communicate so persuasively that others will follow.
Leadership goes far beyond personality, knowledge or position. Ultimately, being an effective leader is about you, and not in the egotistical sense. It’s about self-control, self-awareness and self confidence. It’s about knowing who you are before you lead others.