There are leaders and then there are leaders. In our place of work, in our group memberships and even at our churches and functions we have a leader. Sometimes more than one. If we are lucky, we might even have a good one.
Every one of us are leader material. We all have the ability to assume the position of leadership. We do it every day. We lead our children in the direction we feel is right. We lead our family and in most cases, do a fine job of it. Some of us lead in those church or organization.
The point is, we all have the ability. It is up to us to develop our leadership skills. If we don't let the position go to our heads we can master our skill and become extraordinary leaders.
What is it that makes one leader exceptional and does nothing for another? Sergeants and Lieutenants in the military are promoted into leadership positions but it doesn't mean that they are true leaders. One man or woman may be chosen to head a committee, but again, that doesn't mean that they are true leaders. Some people are placed it the leadership position simply because they know the product or situation.
I have had leaders who barked out an order or command and expected an immediate and absolute response. This type of leader uses fear and intimidation as their weapon. They intimidate you with the fear of losing your job or position and the fear of being demoted or given the dirty job if you don't do as you are told. This is not leadership, it is only a command position.
Some of our leaders are actually afraid of us. They fear that we will outshine them. They fear that we will do the job well and be recognized for accuracy and our ability. They fear that if we do good their roll as leader may be in danger of replacement. Possibly by those they were supposed to lead.
These leaders will do everything they can for you as long as you don't exceed the limits they set for you. They will put you down, belittle you and try hard to keep you in your place.
They have the fear that if you do good they may not be needed and that is a hard thing for them to accept. These are the people who will discourage you from doing what you may feel is good for the benefit of the group or company. As long as you follow orders and don't try anything new or that they didn't think of first they will be there for you in every way. This may be a leader that can get things done, but it is NOT a TRUE leader.
If this leader were as good as he or she thinks there would be no need for fear. The fear that someone you have been teaching will do better than you have done only says that you feel inferior in the roll of group leader. If you lead your people well and one of them begins to sparkle it reflects on your own performance. In short, make those you lead sparkle and shine. You will appear as more of a star than you ever could by holding them back.
There is also the type of leader who just happened to be at the right place at the right time. This leader doesn't really care about the job or position. He just happened to be handy when the need was there. He usually doesn't have much backbone and will waver in his orders, not knowing which decision is the right decision. I have known many of this type.
This one will tell you one thing and before you can get it done he has changed his mind and wants it done another way. He will also show favoritism among his employees. Allowing some to get away with murder and others will be reprimanded for almost nothing. He will also belittle his employees in front of customers and think nothing of cutting the company down and discussing company problems and confidential matters with a total stranger.
If you are on the good side of this leader, and if he likes you, you have it made, but if his superior says something about your work or performance it is rare that he will stand up for you. I know one such leader that will even allow one of his employees, and a good buddy, to consume alcoholic beverages while on duty. All he asks of the employee is that he be discrete. That leader is only in it for the ride, not the long haul.
What then, is a good leaders qualities?
A good leader is one who cares for you as both a person and an employee and also cares for the company he is representing. A good leader can get the job done and have happy employees in the process. He will exude an attitude that will inspire the group and build enthusiasm. He will encourage everyone under his command. If he has a complaint or problem with an employee this will be taken care of behind closed doors, not on the sales floor or in front of customers or even fellow employees.
When I was in the Army I had officers who barked out orders through intimidation. Their orders were carried out, but without enthusiasm or respect. However, there was one lowly little corporal who was a natural leader. He would never demand anything. He would never ask anyone to do anything he wouldn't do himself and everyone knew it. By simply asking “when you get a moment would you" or “when you finish that would you" he gained the respect due any officer. This simple little corporal received more respect and got more accomplished through consideration of his fellow man than any officer.
This leader would always listen to suggestions and comments and take them into consideration. He would always encourage and never demean. If there were a problem it would be discussed in private. Never in front of other people. If there were suggestions for improvement or another way of accomplishing a task, he was interested in what you had to say. If he didn't think it would work, he would give you the reason he felt the way he did. As a true leader he was open to being lead, even by those he was leading.
His attitude inspired me and I attempted to copy his style. On many occasions I have found myself in a leadership position and used the principals he taught me.
Through this type of leadership I have successfully managed several situations including my current endeavor of network marketing.
In my current position I have several leaders with which I work each day. Most of them are good leaders and are open to suggestions. Most of the suggestions have already been tried and were proven ineffective, but they were still open and would explain why something was or was not a good idea.
We should always edify our leaders and our leaders should edify us. If we edify each other this leads to belief and belief is the key to all success. I will repeat, we should edify our leaders, but our leaders should also edify us.
I can recall one time that this did not happen and it caused some slight problems. There was a person I wanted to get involved in a business of mine. I had talked to this person and he was ready to become involved, however, I wanted one of my leaders to also speak with him and get to know him. After all, he would be working with us both.
My leader was on a business trip into Northern California and stopped by to visit with this particular person and discuss business procedures. During the course of conversation my leader made some derogatory comments against me. My future partner became highly agitated and asked the man to please leave his home and not to come back. Needless to say, he did not become my partner. The sad part about this is that my future partner was also my own son.
A good leader will always edify you as much as you edify him. He, or she, will encourage you to do well and to try new things. He will also be there to back you up or help you up, whichever the case may be.
If you are a true leader your people will know it without you flaunting your position. They will know it by your actions and attention to details and also by your willingness to help them top succeed. Even if they are getting better than you had thought they could. That is a sign that you have become an exceptional leader.