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So what or who exactly is a leader? Is a leader born to be? Or is a leader someone who is taught? Figure it out yourself after reading the post.
Let’s first look into the 3 types of leadership (in my own definition) that is common:
- Motivational Leadership
- Servant Leadership
- Inspirational Leadership
“Jiayou!” “Gambatte!” “You can do it!”. All these are motivational phrases you heard before but, that is not what a leader is ONLY about.
As a motivational leader, you are the one encouraging your team to meet a common goal. Just like how the general of the army talks to his men before saying “CHIONG AHHH”. A motivational leader will point out the goal and bring his/her team towards it.
4 characteristics of a motivational leader includes:
Able to set clear and concise goals
As mentioned earlier, the main thing about a motivational leader is that he/she will be leading the team to a common goal. SO, of course a motivational leader has to be able to set goals right? Setting a proper and clear goal is important as it helps your team know where you want them to head towards. Imagine throwing a dart at an empty board, you don’t know where to aim and what points you got right? So the same thing with a goal, it gives your team a place to target and move to.
Communication is key
So what if you can plan and set a goal? It is useless if you cannot properly communicate it to your team. If your team cannot understand your aim to achieve A, they will probably work towards B. That’s why communication is important, you will need to be able to tell your team clearly and show them exactly what is the objective of the team. Communication involves a 2-way process, as much as you want to tell your team what’s up, you will also have to listen to them about what’s up (Read last point on empathy).
p.s. Objectives changes overtime so be sure to communicate the change to your team as well
p.p.s Objectives can be set but do listen to your team about the ways to achieve the objectives
Charisma is not only about how handsome you are or how much you can hypnotise your team. It’s about how much you can stir the hearts of your team, how you can make their heart itchy (心痒痒). Confidence is one of the main things that you can build your charisma, be confident about your goals, about your team. Your team must be confident that you can lead the team to success.
Empathetic to your people
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, you listen more than you talk. As a leader, don’t aim to always tell your team what to do. Shut up and listen to them. They definitely have valuable input to give you. Your job is to make sure to take in all the inputs and be the generator that creates ideas to make changes from all these recommendations. Use it to bring your team to greater heights.
Next, we talk about servant leaders. As the name sounds, you serve your team; coffee, tea or me anyone?
On top of guiding your team, your job is to serve them. No, you don’t do their work for them. Rather, you serve them by helping them achieve their objectives. You help them to be the best they can be. To be a servant leader is to be at the back making sure your team is doing okay, at the same time direct them in the right direction.
This kind of leader is someone that is always happy to help, they feel the best when their team surpasses them in their work. They are like a coach, they guide the team and ensures that each individual succeeds in their own ways, the leader cares for the team and knows their team inside and out. They are very invested in their team members, providing guidance not only in work but also in life.
A strong listener, ability to counsel and a heart of service, these are the traits that a servant leader typically possess.
The last type of leader we want to talk about is an inspirational one. “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done”. SO KEEP READING!
A leader in this aspect strives to keep his/her members going through tough times and the members themselves will be inspired enough to take up a leadership role on their own. A successful inspirational leader will produce more leaders because the members are driven by your actions (not just words) and want to inspire people like how you inspired them.
Inspiring someone takes a lot of wisdom, charisma and empathy to accomplish. Sounds familiar? Yes, it is somewhat a combination of the 2 previous leaders. You can say that the different types of leaders are an evolution of sorts but I also want to tell you that different situations call for different kinds of leaders.
Back to the question, what is a leader?
We talked a lot on what types of leadership styles but we never really touch on who or what exactly is a leader.
The answer is simple, a leader is YOU.
“Huh? But I’m not a manager or a captain or anything”, you say.
You are a leader, you don’t have to have a title to be considered as one. You motivate yourself to work everyday, you bring your friend through a difficult time. Those are all leadership qualities in the small scale, now you only need to bring it to a bigger setting.
So is a leader born or taught? Both, you are born with qualities but through experience and learning, your qualities are developed and it shines through as you experience more and more. You will ask, why do some people look to be natural born leaders? Who? I dare say that the “natural-born” leaders all had to go through certain experiences to hone their leadership skills before they reach their level.
Yes, they have certain qualities that are probably more outstanding but it’s not something that cannot be trained. Qualities can be developed and trained but to what degree and how skilled you are, depends on your innate talent.
So there you have it, leaders are first born, then bred. If you are not born into this world you can’t possibly be alive to be a leader. Without experience, you will never know how to be a leader effectively.
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