One of the biggest myths about leadership is that only those who are born as a leader possess the skill. This suggests that only the lucky ones who own certain charismatic qualities for being a leader can be on top of a leadership role. But the truth is, leadership is more man-made rather than born.
Marty Linksy, co-founder of the consultancy Cambridge Leadership Associates, stated that leadership is much more about skills, attitudes, and behaviours that can be learnt by individuals. Leadership is more or less like an acting lesson. For example, each actor is trained to connect to the audience. They are trained to reach the heart of every audience. In other words, they are trained to be charismatic. Thus, we can conclude that something such as charisma is a taught lesson, meaning that leadership is a taught lesson as well.
A survey by Center for Creative Leadership also cited that leadership can be achieved through learning and hard work. Leadership requires learning from past mistakes and continually work at strengthening the weaknesses. You can compare yourself to the greatest leader you admire in order to learn what traits make the best chief. Among the traits found in leader are honesty, ability to delegate, communication, sense of humour, confidence, commitment, positive attitude, creativity, ability to inspire, and intuition. If you find that you have possessed one of these traits and committed to continuously strengthen and build new traits, your likability of becoming a kind of leader you dream to be is higher.
“Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting, and most importantly a way of communicating.”– Simon Sinek
However, it should be noted that good traits and charisma are not the only ones needed to be a better leader. Mark Livingstone, CEO of online prescription delivery business Pharmacy2U, told Management Today about his inspiring story of being an influential leader in today’s business. According to Livingstone, survival skill is a lesson hard-learned especially from a career where the ability to ruthlessly prioritise problem is needed. Leader, especially an aspiring leader, should logically, intensely, and brilliantly treat the problem that comes with high customer churn and logistically intensive companies.
Additionally, there are three more aspects Livingstone shared that all ambitious leaders should remember.
#1 Track your gems
The most privilege asset leader should possess is his analytical and forecasting skills. For example, Livingstone believed that his teammate had brilliant idea so they worked together to raise money to support the idea. His teammate succeeded and the idea merged into subscription snacks business called Graze. After the succession, his teammate found a new idea called Tails which was dog food, where Livingstone took role as an investor before the business is sold to Nestle in 2018.
The lesson here is, Livingstone advised, you need to have a privilege of working with people you genuinely think are brilliant. Make sure you keep tabs on them to see whatever they end up doing next.
#2 Know your sweet spot
Fundamentally, company needs to change spot as they grow. For example, you know better at training new hires. However, your skill is not necessarily needed to run a more mature business. Thus, you can hire a more talented person to shift from one position to position.
“Companies are like running a relay: you’ve got to have people who are good at the sprint, some that are good at the middle stage, and people that are good at finishing,” Livingstone said. Therefore, find your best spot and for the rest, you can find an expert to fill the position.
#3 Manner is key
When you call out someone early in the morning without prior notice, do you think it will please him? Who knows he just gets up or in bathroom get on the tube.
Being polite and mindful is key, especially in a business where you meet random people you barely know. Livingstone said, “There is no substitute for politeness, decency, and good manners.” Saying please, thank you, or make sure that the person you want to talk to is convenient to talk at the moment is a simple act which can incredibly bring a good result.