You don’t have to be tall, well-spoken and good looking to be a successful leader.
A leader combines the attributes of attitude, ambition, enthusiasm, integrity, determination, discipline, and work ethics. What you have to have is a clearly defined convictions and more important, the courage of your convictions to see them manifest into reality. Leaders are not easily pigeonholed by age, gender, ethnicity, or any other demographic. What makes them stand out in a crowd is their record of achievement in their studies and careers.
There are important dimensions of leadership required to be a successful leader:
Leaders have to generate a shared and common understanding of a dynamic and evolving vision for their future. To do that it means you have to tap into all available networks to continually create new knowledge. Vision alone is not enough; it must be combined with inspiration and action.
People trust you because you are truthful, keep your commitments and have the courage to stand up and be open. People will respect you because you respect them. People are influenced by your thoughts because you share your knowledge and experience which is enriched by learning and synthesis. Thus, ground your values in truth, commitment and courage, stay true to your values and live by example.
Authentic leadership implies that you do not pretend. You recognise your limitations and that you strive for excellence. To achieve authenticity in a world where our identities are created for use by a mass market media and the immediacy of the internet is not easy. It requires courage, self-knowledge, compassion and strong personal conviction.
One of the most marked shifts in leadership is the renewed emphasis that is placing on mentoring and team development, as well as on growing the next generation of leader. Helping others to grow, learn new skills, offer people new challenges and opportunities and offer honest feedback and appraisal. A good leader listens. He feels others emotions, he supports if they are sad, encourages them if they feel strong. A good leader gives people space – lots and lots of space.
Each student can follow the National Career Development Guidelines framework of America’s Career Resource Network to reach their full potential to become the leader they want to be:
- Develop understanding of self to build and maintain a positive selfconcept
- Develop positive interpersonal skills including respect for diversity
- Integrate growth and change into your career development
- Balance personal, leisure, community, learner, family and work roles
- Attain education achievement and performance levels needed to reach your personal and career goals
- Participate in ongoing, lifelong learning experiences to enhance your ability to function effectively in a diverse and changing economy
- Create and manage a career plan that meets your career goals
- Use a process of decision-making as one component of career development
- Use accurate, current and unbiased career information during career planning and management
- Master academic, occupational and general employability skills in order to obtain, create, maintain and/or advance your employment
- Integrate changing employment trends, societal needs and economic conditions into your career plans.
The most important words for a leader to remember to say, are:
The six most important words: “I admit that I was wrong”
The five most important words: “You did a great job”
The four most important words: “What do you think?”
The three most important words: “Could you please…”
The two most important words: “Thank you”
The most important word: “We”
The least important word: “I”
1. Brian O’Connell: The Career Survival Guide. 2003. McGraw-Hill
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