Leadership is one of those skills that is often hard for everyone to learn in school; many believe that you either have it or you do not. While there may be some truth to this, it is possible for any individual to become an effective leader, so long as they cultivate the many traits and views that successful leaders have.
While there are many definitions which are used to describe leadership, it is "the ability to persuade a group of people in a manner which allows a specific goal to be reached." While there are many different types of leaders, this definition clearly describes the primary outcome that they all share.
If you are capable of influencing others around you in a manner that allows you to achieve your goals, then it can be said that you have leadership skill. There is no set formula that one follows to become a leader, and the skills which are required for leadership cannot easily be taught in a classroom.
The greatest leaders tend to be those that have a natural gift; many leaders are highly charismatic. There are many styles of leadership, some of the fundamental traits that all leaders share, which you can apply in your own life are outlined here below.
Power of Discipline
Leaders have extensive amount of discipline. No one can lead others if they cannot first lead themselves. If you are the type of person who has to be told what to do all the time, then you are not a leader, but a follower.
If a leader knows that they need to wake up at a certain time in order to get an important task completed, then they will do so. If they know that they need to be working on a specific project at a certain time, no one has to tell them to do so; they just automatically know to do it. The first traits common among leaders is that they tend to be full of both discipline and the ability to lead themselves.
Strength and Wisdom
Two other traits which are common among leaders is both strength and wisdom. When one studies history, this becomes obvious: those who were promoted to the rank of general in most societies throughout history have been men who were brave, strong, and battle tested. No one wanted a general who was weak and inexperienced. In addition to this, no soldier wishes to fight under a general who was unwise.
A wise person is often promoted to leadership positions since they often make wise decisions which benefit themselves and those under them. This is also why many societies throughout history selected older men to be elders of the tribe, since they had lived many years and had knowledge, wisdom, and experience with regard to many matters.
Being a strong leader does not necessarily mean that you need to be physically strong, or have a powerful physical presence; it could simply mean having a strong mind, being resolute in your thought process. While having physical strength can be helpful, it is only one factor which is effective in strong leaders.
Wisdom is equally, if not more important than physical strength, since a wise general can keep his men alive, and a wise CEO can keep his company and employees profitable and employed.
People often rally under a wise leader because the leader can give them a sense of security; In a harsh world where hardly anything is certain, and where people aspire to improve their lot in life, the man or woman who displays strength and wisdom will be followed, so that their followers can reap the benefits of their wisdom.
However, a key thing that one must always keep in mind is that while leaders may enjoy many privileges, including fame and wealth, their position also comes with a great deal of responsibility, as well as risk.
While leaders enjoy many privileges, their power comes along with huge responsibility; they are obliged to serve those who put them into power. If a leader makes bad decisions which hurts those beneath him, he is subject to being overthrown and replaced by a leader who is more effective.
If the leader becomes abusive, or uses his power in a corrupt way, again, sooner or later he will be crushed and overthrown. While a leader often gets the praise and benefit from any achievement his group accomplishes, when things go wrong, and the group is not successful, the leader is the person who will often be primarily blamed, and may be most likely to fall.