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What to “Fix” If You Want to Be a Leader

Source | LinkedIn : By Deepak Chopra

It’s commonly supposed that leaders are born and not made, but there is no real evidence for that. More realistically, leadership is a quality you discover in yourself, not by a sudden revelation but by a series of steps. Each step leads to the same conclusion: “I can do this.” As you meet one challenge after another, you grow into leadership. The process is entirely personal and different from one individual to the next, which is why no university or business school course can actually produce leaders through a course on the subject.

On the path to becoming a leader, there will be obstacles and resistance, as with any difficult skill. Generally, people take the attitude that these obstacles are external–the fault of a bad boss, the wrong job, an uncooperative team, etc. But in reality the external circumstances you find yourself in reflect your own inner state. When an obstacle faces you head on and you find it difficult or impossible to remove, look inside and fix yourself before blaming anyone around you.

“Fixing yourself” doesn’t mean acting as your own therapist. You aren’t out to psychoanalyze yourself. Instead, you objectively consider what your strong and weak points are as a leader or potential leader.

The skill of leadership requires certain specific abilities, so ask yourself if you can:

  • Inspire loyalty

  • Make others feel safe

  • Listen to all points of view

  • See past your own needs to fulfill the needs of others

  • Make others feel accepted and respected

  • Motivate others to succeed

  • Open up a space for creativity

  • Foster harmony in a team

 

These are the major requirements as judged from the viewpoint of followers. The vast majority of workers are going to be followers, at least for part of their careers; therefore, you need to see the qualities of a leader from their perspective.  The Gallup Organization has done research in this field all around the world, and their data shows that what is most valued in a leader is loyalty, making their followers feel safe in their jobs, and the sense that a leader pays attention to what his followers do and say.

Unfortunately, leaders tend to alienate co-workers and followers in the present economic climate, where the salaries of top executives are outrageously out of proportion with workers’ pay.  This isn’t a pressing matter for the time being if you are just climbing the ladder to leadership. Yet there are behaviors associated with a hostile management-worker relationship that apply to all leaders. 

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