There is NO REASON why you can not prepare
yourself  to be a good leader

It is often said that great leaders are born, not made.  But leadership skills can be learnt by most of us.

This might be true of leaders on a grand scale such as Mahatma Ghandi, Winston Churchill or Richard Branson, but even they had been through unique preparation to become great leaders of their time.

However, there is no reason why you cannot prepare yourself to be a good leader.

Firstly why bother?  Why does your company need a leader?  After-all most of us never really think of ourselves as leaders.

There is one simple answer: Our people need someone to follow.

Our simple defintion of a leader is someone who others follow.

As a first point, we must know what a leader is, as opposed to a manager. A manager is a person who puts into place strategies and structures, controls a process, and measures outcomes in order to meet targets or improve results.  

A leader, on the other hand, is someone who...
  • Has a strong idea of where he or she wants to take an organisation (or country, or sports team). This is the "vision".  
  • Is able to communicate that vision to the people who will make it happen: in business, typically, a team of managers and staff.  
  • Can motivate his or her team to do the tasks they need to do, and can show them why it is important or desirable to achieve the vision.
  • The management functions still have to happen. They are vital to making the business successful. But they are totally dependant on the leader being able to pass on the vision he has.
Without sound leadershipone or more of these things might start to occur: 
  • Growth will stall. It will appear that the business has simply lost traction and can no longer get any bigger. Sales people may say they just can’t get any more customers. You may even begin to lose customers.
  • Good staff will leave. They may say the money is better elsewhere or that they were offered an opportunity they could not refuse. In fact they simply cannot see any future for the business and therefore they can see no future for themselves in it. Unfortunately, the staff members that do stay will often be the ones who do not have a vision for themselves, so are the ones that you do not want anyway.
  • Competition will appear to increase. If your business does not dominate its market niche, others will see the opportunity and dominate it instead of you. They will have a vision of taking your market share, and with strong leadership they can!
  • As an owner or manager, you will become more disillusioned and less satisfied with the role you have. Motivation will become a problem, and you may look seriously at just getting out. You will not get any fun out of work any more. And if you’re not enjoying it imagine how your staff feel!
What is missing is a long term sustainable direction, a vision of what the business will be like in the future.   This is not because it cannot be created, it is just that a leader is needed.

Leadership skills, like many other skills, can be learned and improved through training and practice.

Winston Churchill held leadership roles, while at school and at Sandhurst Military Academy .   He was in the armed forces where leadership skills are taught, and experienced leading men in battle, in many conflicts around the turn of the 20 th Century.   He also spent many years involved in political leadership.   With preparation like that it was really no surprise that he could lead his country so well, through a long and difficult war for survival.

Action points - What to do next

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