Leaders are made, not born. If you have the desire and resolve, and bushel loads of perseverance, you too can become an effective leader. In that sense, leadership is an art that you can acquire, master and implement.
Perfect processes and flawless techniques cannot guarantee a great leader, for leadership is an attitude, not a scientific programme that can run itself on formulas and processes. There are scores of stories that bear witness to the fact that leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about people. You have to be sort of a person who can inspire confidence in your team; you have to win their trust and their respect. It is this ability of a person or persons to energise a group, an organisation, a nation or the world that makes a leader. In short it is the ability to bring out the best in people. Truly great leaders like Jinnah, Martin Luther King or Lincoln were not leaders who led method.
They were people who believed in inspiring other people to give their best to the cause. Max DePree in his book ‘The Art of Leadership’ defines leadership as “liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible”. Your position as a manager, supervisor or administrator does not automatically make you a leader. It simply makes you the boss. But leadership is not about bossing people around. To truly inspire your followers into higher levels there are certain things you must know and do. The fundamental starting point is having a good understanding of human nature. A good leader must know what makes his people tick; he must be aware of their needs and emotions, strengths and weaknesses and their motivations. The leader should also have an honest understanding of himself; he must have knowledge, abilities and a clear vision of what he wants to achieve. To be truly successful you should be able to convince the people who follow you (not your superiors, or yourself) that you are worthy of being followed. Why? Because the success of a project or a task or an assignment depends on the followers. If they not trust or lack confidence in their leader they will be uninspired and that in turn will show in their work.
Never go blindly by paradigms. People differ, circumstances change and the problems vary. What works in one situation will not always work in another. You must be flexible, take things as they come and use your judgment to decide the best course for each situation. Never expect your people to do something that you yourself would not be willing to do. Remember what and how you communicate either builds or harms the relationship between you and your followers. Bear in mind the words of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles. Even otherwise you can acquire the art of leadership through an infinite process of study, introspection, education, training and experience. Remember even the greatest leaders don’t rest on their laurels; they constantly strive to better themselves.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Born on December 25, 1876, in Karachi, no one really thought that this little boy will make history one day. Jinnah started his political career in 1906 when he attended the Calcutta session of the All India National Congress, which he left after years to join Muslin League. With his constant struggle, hard work, devotion and love for the Muslims of the subcontinent, Jinnah became one of the most outstanding leaders in the history of the world.
He was the lion who roared when the British Empire needed him most. He was elected to Parliament and began his career as a statesman in the House of Commons when he was just 25 years of age. Churchill perpetually demonstrated enthusiasm, determination, and optimism. Perhaps the best example of Churchill’s passion is found in his words that he used to inspire people and battle defeatism; “I am convinced that every man of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender.”
President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa. For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity - as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa. In 1993 Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize with South African President F.W. de Clerk. One year later, he was elected president of South Africa, ensuring antidiscrimination laws.
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King is probably the most famous person associated with the civil rights movement. He was appointed the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association which was created during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and he became a prominent leader of the movement. After that he wrote ‘Stride Towards Freedom’ which motivated more people to stand against injustice towards African-Americans. This led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, guaranteeing the voting rights of the black community in America, changing the face of today’s superpower .