When you think of a leader who has made a difference in the world or has inspired positive change, who comes to mind? Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Aung San Suu Ky, Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela, Wangari Maathai… (those are some names that I think of, in no particular order). In terms of leadership skills, what do these civil rights, human rights, and equality leaders have in common? Why have they been successful in leading movements and making a difference for so many people, within and far beyond their communities?
Leadership Skills: What Makes a Great Leader?
Whether you’re a CEO or a volunteer manager, a president or a children’s sport coach, having strong leadership skills can help you perform better on your job and make a positive impact on the people you work with and for. Leadership skills are often defined and described in the business context, with an emphasis on qualities such as being decisive, confident, and charismatic.
While these leadership skills are no doubt important for any type of leaders, it seems that as a society we are often drawn to the inspirational kind of leadership traits. If we look at some of the greatest leaders of our times (like the ones I mentioned above) and their approaches to working with communities and interacting with people, we will probably find many similarities, such as respect, tenacity, determination, generosity, and compassion.
And these are the qualities that really speak to our hearts and minds.
If we are to attempt to learn a thing or two about leadership skills from some of the best leaders that our world has had (and indeed, shouldn’t we always strive to learn from the best of the best?), one lesson may be that effective leaders don’t just lead by example, but inspire others to make a difference by being the example. They don’t wait for the world to change, or for others to lead, to start doing what they believe to be right and to start making a difference, however small or big, in the world.
[the conductor]‘s spreading happiness. The important thing is that the happiness does not come from only his story and his joy of the music. The joy is about enabling other people’s stories to be heard at the same time.
- Itay Talgam “Lead like the great conductors“, TED.com
inspiring your team to see the vision of the successes to come is vital.
- “Top 10 Qualities That Make A Great Leader“, Forbes.com
the truly inspiring leader: someone who communicates clearly, concisely, and often, and by doing so motivates everyone to give their best all the time. They challenge their people by setting high but attainable standards and expectations, and then giving them the support, tools, training, and latitude to pursue those goals and become the best employees they can possibly be.
- “The 9 Traits That Define Great Leadership“, Inc.com
Who inspires you, and how do they lead to make a difference for you and for the world?