In many a workshop or seminar, the facilitator asks the group, “What are the characteristics of a GOOD leader?”
Answers like the following are usual responses:
Visionary, Strategist, Inspiring, Integrity, Good listener, Good Communicator, Effective Role Model, Competent, Committed, Proactive, with Strong Character, and more.
This discussion is usually followed with, “Are Leaders born or made?”
After some additional discussion, the consensus is normally that Leaders are made, or developed, not born.
So, how are Leaders made? Having been through and facilitated Leadership Development processes, we know that an analysis of the characteristics noted above and illustrations of real-life examples for each is very valuable. In addition, reading books about leaders or written by leaders we admire provide valuable perspectives. Talking with others in groups and networking with leaders in various businesses gives us insight into how others lead and manage their teams.
In addition, we have all had role models, those who have taught us valuable tips and lessons that propelled us forward and helped us develop the leadership skills we have today.
Being a role model ourselves, can be invaluable.
I recently spoke with a friend, Shelby, who owns a successful local Day Spa. She has recently promoted one of her nail technician/aestheticians, Brittany, to Spa manager. Brittany has completely embraced this new role with enthusiasm and gusto, still maintaining a strong client base of her own. When I complimented Shelby on her choice, she commented that Brittany has always stepped up to the plate and volunteered to do more. She exhibited early characteristics of leadership and Shelby has worked closely with her, grooming her for additional roles on the team and allowing her the room to grow within the organization. Not only has Shelby been a role model and teacher, she also recognized, early on, a person who was ready for the next steps.
We all have had multiple role models and we can aid in the leadership development of others by becoming aware of those in our midst who exhibit characteristics we believe will make them good leaders. By reaching out to them to encourage them, sharing with them and just being there when they stumble or seem unsure may be just as important as any formal development training that is available to them.