The other night in class, we were discussing leadership and I asked the class if anyone could become a leader. The point I was trying to make was that while most professions require some sort of qualification before they allow someone into their group, there is no test for leadership. Physicians, Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Teachers, Project Managers, Marines, Police Officers, Firefighters, Scientists… you get the idea… all require you to pass some sort of test before you can join their group. They may require college, certification, or physical stamina, but they do require something. What of leadership? Can anyone be a leader? What are the requirements?
If there are no formal requirements then I suppose anyone can be a leader. This is where the discussion got interesting. I proposed that despite there being no formal requirements for leadership, that just like a Physician, not everyone is qualified to be a leader. The responses I got were great. Some felt that anyone could be a leader. Others suggested that leadership could be learned.
The question I then asked the class was, “can someone pick up Leadership For Dummies, and become a good leader? Can anyone, become a leader?” The discussion made me realize two things…
Anyone can become a good leader… but… not everyone will become a good leader
During the discussion I was reminded that while some people try to become good leaders, they eventually fail at it, sometimes miserably. Why? Because there is a cost to leadership that not everyone is willing to pay. What does it take to become a good leader? Well, we have an entire book industry and many companies and consultants who are trying to help us figure that out. But in the meantime, here are some of the requirements for someone wanting to become a good leader:
- The Heart of a Leader – A deep desire to improve the world around them, perhaps at great personal risk or cost.
- A deep desire for knowledge and truth. Leaders are readers. A leader will read a book regularly, before watching TV.
- A leader must be willing to listen to others. He or she must have the ability to accept criticism AND to alter their behavior when necessary.
- Courage to face themselves when they look in the mirror. A good leader will learn to face his or her demons and to work to get rid of them.
- Perseverance – to continuously improve their skills and to go beyond their comfort zone.
- Commitment to Excellence and a very strong work ethic to improve their leadership skills.
IF a person is willing to do these things, he or she can become a good leader. Based on their abilities, some may become better than others, but we can all become good leaders, if we’re willing to pay the price. But why then do we have people who “try” to become leaders but fail? Because they don’t want to, or in some cases can’t, pay the price. There are requirements for good leadership. What about you? Are you willing to pay the price?
All the best
All the time