samedi 14 juin 2014

LEADERS BUILD NOT BORN

One recurring theme about leadership is “leadership is something you are born with; you either have it, or you don’t”. If this is true, it means that the majority of us have no chance of ever developing ourselves into the leaders we wish to be.
Although there are undoubtedly people who are born with an innate desire to lead, true leadership is a collection of skills that are eminently learnable. The reason I can state this with such conviction is that having grew up in one of the poorest place in Dakar (Medina) I am certainly part of the unblessed majority, who have had to learn leadership from the ground up.
Most of the attributes of good leadership don’t come naturally to me, and earlier in my career I was very content being responsible solely for my own work, the quality of which I could easily guarantee. However, I did reach a point where I felt I wanted to have more influence over the work I was involved in, and that is where my leadership journey started.
This is an important point; whilst I believe that it is possible to learn leadership skills, I don’t believe that you can simply decide “I think I’ll become a leader” - if your heart isn’t in it then you are unlikely to have much success. This is probably why so many people believe that leadership is some God-given attribute that they don’t have - they simply haven’t yet reached the stage where they are ready to progress in that direction.
There are many ways to progress along the leadership path:
§  Find a mentor - great leaders are always keen to mentor others, so if you know one, ask for help
§  Read - there is no shortage of books on leadership and related topics
§  Try it! - there is no way to learn leadership academically any more than it’s possible to learn to ride a bike academically

The final point is a vital one - trying things and seeing how they work out is the only way to develop. You will definitely make mistakes - it’s inevitable. The key is to take the outcome as feedback rather than criticism, use it and improve. In fact, the only thing that can’t be learnt is a desire to take on leadership. If you have that, then the rest is far from easy, but well worth the effort involved. Take initiative; try things; make mistakes; learn from them and keep developing. You will probably never “reach your goal” because this self-development never ends, but the journey itself is rewarding….

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