Leadership: Gift, Ability and Necessity

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In this post, I’d like to take a look at leadership and why, I believe it is vital to any organisation, especially in challenging times.

Leadership is not a job despite the fact that some people have the word leader as part of their job title. Some might suggest that leadership is a role, in other words a collection of responsibilities, given that a leadership role is most often associated with executive and management positions within organisations.

But I would argue that leadership is a gift, an ability and a necessity if organisations are to develop, survive and thrive.

Leadership is a Gift

A friend of mine wrote the dissertation for his degree on the question: are leaders born or made? Despite the fact that many would agree that most of the qualities of successful leaders can be learned or acquired, after analysing the lives of some of the world’s most notable leaders, he concluded that leaders are born.

Does that mean that we cannot learn how to lead? Personally, I don’t think it does, but you only have to watch children at play to observe for yourself the truth of the proposition that leadership is indeed a gift. Leaders have the ability to exercise influence over others whether or not they have the official title of ‘manager’ or ‘leader’.

Leadership is an Ability

Leadership is the ability to conceive what the future looks like and inspire other people in such a way as to cause them to take action to help to bring about that future. Leaders have vision. That’s a fundamental requirement to be a leader. They don’t have to know the way, but they have to know the destination.

Not only do they know the destination, they are also able to communicate in such a manner as to inspire people with the belief that the effort that will be required to get there will be worth it.

Leadership is a Necessity

In the modern workplace, leadership is the most vital of skills. Without a vision, says the Bible, the people perish (Proverbs) and it is the leader who formulates the vision. Leaders can be found everywhere and at every level within an effective organisation. They are the people who are constantly asking the question: how can we do it better?

Without leadership, we stagnate. We do the same things in the same ways and so ultimately, we get out-competed in the marketplace. Leadership is therefore a necessity if an organisation is to survive and thrive in difficult economic circumstances.

Executive Leadership

If there is one thing the corporate world really needs to learn, it is to choose it’s executive leaders very carefully indeed because these people really do represent the future of the organisation. With the right people in place, you genuinely have half of the battle won. So make sure you choose those who show the right qualities, not necessarily those with the best product knowledge, admin skills or academic qualifications.

You are looking for people who care about the company and who are committed to making a difference. You are looking for people who want to make a contribution and are prepared to make use of their talents in order to do so. And you are looking for people who have that natural gift; the ability to genuinely inspire others.

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