Leadership is a cultural buzzword, it’s a category in Forbes, and it often invokes an image of a natural born, fearless individual ruthlessly taking the victory. But what if you aren’t the fearless type? And while those people do exist, they are not the majority. So is it possible to be a leader if you don’t fit the profile? Absolutely.
Leaders are not all naturally born. For some it is an innate talent, but for many it is an ability that can be learned. And one that brings about a whole different meaning for leadership. We have influence when we lead. We can lead at work, lead our children, and lead our friends. What we do and say can affect the choices and actions of those around us for the better, or for the worse. It is a skill to hone and use for good. So avoid the dark side, because (spoiler alert) based on the Star Wars trilogy, it doesn’t turn out well.
But barring any Darth Vader wannabes, most people have an area in their life where they can take a lead role and make a difference. Often, though, they aren’t aware that they can. They aren’t aware that just because they aren’t the cultural stereotype of a leader, that they can lead and do it effectively. The signs of a good leader have nothing to do with looks, height, or fearlessness. The signs of a good leader have to do with humility, resourcefulness and compassion. A good leader is humble and seeks the advice and counsel of his/her team. At the end of the day he/she has to make the final call, but good leaders aren’t lone wolves. Another sign of a good leader is resourcefulness. Life rarely goes as planned and when the poop hits the fan, well, someones got to clean it up. A good leader is willing to get messy and find a solution that works, which might not be popular with everyone but it will ultimately benefit the team. Lastly, a great leader has compassion and a desire to understand and help their team grow. It’s an all for one, one for all mentality. So basically, be like a super hero, but without the cape… and probably no spandex suit.