Are leaders born or made? Some would argue they’re born, but I don’t think so. I think great leadership is based on a desire to lead combined with a desire to learn how to lead.
I used to want to write screenplays but I never imagined I could ever do it because I wasn’t born a writer. Writing doesn’t come easy for me. In fact, most of the time it’s PAINFUL and I ask myself, “Pam, why the heck are you trying to do this when it’s so hard?” But I realized that artists in general are people who have to “work” on their craft, whether it’s writing, painting or playing an instrument. They aren’t born with the ability to write a novel or an opera, they first must have the desire to do those things and then have the desire to learn how to do them.
Being a leader is no different, and I would encourage anyone who has the desire to lead to work at it. Whether you want to be a leader in your community or your industry, there are, I believe, 5 key skills that will get you there.
You can’t be a leader unless you have passion for the thing you are doing. I love marketing and telling stories. I have a passion for it. Find your passion and follow it. What is the thing that makes you get out of bed in the morning? What can’t you stop thinking about or talking about or reading about? What would you pursue no matter what?
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but a lack of curiosity will kill your potential. One of the things that makes leaders special is their curiosity and need to constantly know more. Once you find what it is you’re truly passionate about, your natural curiosity will kick in. If it doesn’t, you haven’t found your passion – so keep looking.
Good communication has the ability to resolve conflicts, build trust and respect and create an atmosphere where problem solving can flourish. But effective communication is a two-way street. To quote the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
An Analytical Mind
The ability to reason critically, analyze data and refine strategies is a necessary skill for any leader. Get your emotion out of the equation and base your decisions on the relevant information in front of you.
Leaders aren’t afraid to fail and this comes from failing frequently before achieving ultimate goals. Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, wasn’t afraid to try something and fail, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
People are born, leaders are made.