Understanding the nature of good leadership is much easier than practicing good leadership. Good leadership requires a deep understanding of human behavior. Organizations are made up of various individuals with different personalities.
Further, organizational members are not all motivated by the same things. Understanding human behavior in organizational settings can be complicated. Therefore, leaders are the enabling force, helping individuals perform to the best of their abilities; the aim to achieve the common goal of the organization. Leaders in modern organizations are advocates for change and strive for new approaches to problems. Leaders possess a combination of different skills that make individuals follow them. They are skilled communicators, possess excellent problem solving skills and are charismatic. It is believed that individuals are born with these sets of skills. Indeed, some people are naturally gifted with more leadership abilities, but it is also widely debated that individuals can become leaders.
Certainly those sets of skills that set leaders apart from followers can be learned. According to Cohen (1998), “But my research shows conclusively that effectiveness as a leader depends less on some innate trait you are born with, and much more on specific principles that anyone can follow” (Para.3). People can become leaders by concentrating on improving individual leadership skills. Thus, anyone can be a leader. Even leaders can improve to become effective leaders. Effective leaders are made not born; they are able to learn from experience and trial and error. Leaders can learn a large amount of the craft on the job. The most effective way to becoming a leader is through practice. A leader can be emulated in order to learn specific behavior patterns. Leaders can learn a large amount of the craft using this approach.
Let’s suppose an individual is lacking emotional intelligence, which is an important trait that effective leaders possess. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and recognize emotions in others and oneself. This trait is made up of several abilities, one of which is adaptability. Certainly, emotional intelligence can be learned. You can seek honest feedback and guidance from your coworkers in order to improve these skills. Further, you can improve emotional intelligence by keeping cool, calm and professional under high stress. Leaders with low emotional intelligence could make poor decisions under high-stress situations. Further, emotional intelligence also includes qualities of compassion. If a leader tries to be compassionate, he or she may be able to build trust within the group. Further, compassion can boost employee self-confidence.
In conclusion, leaders are evidently born, but leaders can always be made. Anyone can be a leader in an organizational setting. Individuals that want to be leaders should concentrate in polishing their leadership skills or developing new skills. It takes practice and experience to learn the trade. In addition, it takes guidance from coworkers and other leaders to learn the craft. Sometimes it takes failure to learn to be a leader. Trial and error is effective because the individual learns painful lessons as the basis of strength for future problems. Becoming a leader may require years of on the job training. Above all, it is important to receive feedback on one’s performance from coworkers, customers and supervisors. It is an art that can be learned through professional development.
By David Gallagher