“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”—Alexander the Great.
Leadership may mean differently to different people around the world, depending on the setting they find themselves. The important roles leaders play at different times has kept the endless argument as to whether leaders are born or made on heat. Leadership could relate to political leadership, community leadership, organizational leadership or religious leadership. By whichever means leaders emerge, I still argue that every individual is a leader of himself. One of the crucial roles of leaders is decision making, and every individual takes decisions in all situations on daily basis, which means that you are a leader of your own self. You lead your thoughts and actions, these decisions you make tends to have a long or short-term effect on you and the people around you. The focus of this article will be to draw your attention as a leader to what makes you an outstanding leader and also what is most expected of you which you may not have paid attention to.
“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.” Robin S. Sharma
To be a great leader you must always remember you are a leader because you have followers. A great leader must be able to get those around him to buy into his vision and to become as enthusiastic about it as he the initiator is. Your followers’ contributions in decision making are always important for your success, respect them for they can make and unmake you. The second thing worth understanding is that, every organization has a set of goals and objectives it intends to achieve, and to become a successful leader you must never forget them. Three, always communicate clearly to your followers what you intend to do. Without good communication, it will always be difficult for the people around you to understand your plans and how best to support your ideas. In one of James Humes’ quotes he said; “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” Until you clearly communicate your vision to the people around you and tell them the strategy to achieve the goal, it will be very difficult for you to get the results you need. Communication is one of the most important qualities of a good leader.
Just as there are many forms of leadership styles same do we have leaders of different kind. Challenge yourself; don’t just be a leader, be a great leader. Great leaders are those who appear to save situations during difficult times, great leaders are those who are able to take well-calculated risks, Great leaders are problem solvers. To become a great leader you must be a problem solver. Be reminded that a leadership position is not a campaign platform to say what you believe you are capable of doing, it is an opportunity to prove to the world what you have to offer, not by words but by the legacies you will leave behind. Leadership does not only set the stage for long-term achievement, but it ensures that there will be sustainability long after the Leadership is over. People perceive leadership in different ways, but let me quickly point out that Leadership is not about being gentle, neither is it about being radical. It is not always about academic knowledge, neither is it about self-interest but rather of vision and discipline, knowing when and how to act. It is not about what you the leader seek to achieve but it is about the common interest of the entire group or organization.
A great leader is one who has a shared vision and therefore uses his influence to keep his followers close towards the attainment of that common goal of the group. A true leader finds a way to make things happen when no one believes that it can be done, because he is never satisfied with his achievements but believes he can always do more. As he seeks to achieve the goals of the organization, he is not afraid to make bold decisions because he thinks outside the box and approaches different situations with a unique solution. One of the dearest expectations of your followers is the desire to have a leader who is able to humbly accept mistakes of his administration and is less interested in taking praises for his successes, because the ultimate aim of a good leader is to help bring out the best in his followers and not the best of himself. As a leader, you strive for perfection although understanding that you are not perfect. Orient yourself that you are likely to make mistakes and when you make a mistake, own up to that mistake. Your goal is not to create a perfect world, but to at least raise standards that are near perfection.
Resources and planning are undoubtedly very key to the success of every administration, yet you have to remember that all these will be nothing but wasteful without a vision and self discipline. Personally, I will define self-discipline as “how well a person behaves when no one is watching him/her.” Again, to become that great leader, you must be innovative enough to achieve bigger goals. Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” The most difficult thing to do in life is to bring something new that is good enough to fit a situation. People keep repeating over and over again what has always been done many times. If it is something we have heard before it is no longer news, say or do something else. Creativity and innovation are what makes you different from the ordinary. Great leaders do not maintain standards rather they bring new ideas and policies to achieve more.
It is always important to remember that great leaders do not need rewards whilst in office. The legacies you leave behind will define the kind of leader you were. The famous Nelson Mandela once said; it is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. A good leader is not one who is hungry for praises but one who is hungry to solve problems. As this piece gets interesting, we may also need to save some words for the next article, but not forgetting the facts that great leaders are problem solvers, they are creative and innovative, and they are those who have a shared vision and therefore uses effective communication to get their followers to do the unthinkable. Don’t just be a leader, be a great leader.
Meador, Derrick. “What Makes a School Administrator an Effective School Leader?” ThoughtCo, Jan. 31, 2018, thoughtco.com/how-school-administrator-can-be-effective-leader-3194569.
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Special Dedication To Mr Joseph Mensah &Liberty Afful all of History L400 (University of Education Winneba)