Leadership fascinates, seduces and intrigues! Leaders can exert ascendancy over groups; transform intentions, habits and even destinies. ‘A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way’, says John C. Maxwell. Leadership translates the ability of leaders to gather strong, sustainable buy-in from their teams towards ambitious projects, says Françoise Gri.
As a result of admiration, we often draw long lists of leaders’ qualities in order to analyze them and to draw inspiration from the traits of character that we may have already have or can acquire to become a leader, or to advise people how to become leaders. There are, in fact, so many qualities involved in leadership that you would not be able to list them all. These qualities often depend on context, constraints and opportunities: the qualities that gave a leader ascendancy over a group in one situation may not be those required to convince the same group in another situation.
In trying to crystallize magic potion conclusions from what we see through the actions and behaviour of leaders, we often fail to recognize that the essence of leadership is not visible. Indeed, leadership often begins with work on one’s self, for one’s self. The changes, practices and attention-grabbing postures, especially in leadership, are the result of years of arduous work. Steve Jobs often confirmed this by saying, ‘If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time’. Leadership is the result of personal success earned through perseverance respecting every dimensions of your being and which uncovers its ultimate and infinite potential. This potential gives you confidence and attracts the confidence of others in what you do. You are mistaken if you consider that leadership applied to ‘others’ precedes leadership on your self. Some try to influence others through their innate or acquired qualities, some manipulate others around a non-authentic and unfulfilled image … but this manifestation of manipulative leadership can only be ephemeral.
Ensuring the sustainability of your leadership certainly involve universal qualities, independent of situations and cultures, which we often find around us, such as authenticity, engagement in a cause greater than individual interest, and the ability to inspire. But the backbone of leadership sustainability begins with self-leadership built through 10 vital principles: Prioritize Vision, Dare to be Authentic, Believe in Your Distinctive Uniqueness, Thrive at work, Be persistent but not stubborn, Make the most of the instant, Choose to Choose, Learn to Learn, Understand Your Relative Value, and Resource yourself constantly! Those principles are described in specific articles that you can check on www.yandouz.com
By Farid Yandouz