Harry S. Truman once said, “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”. It is true that no growth and advancement is possible without the effort and dedication of men and teamwork, but without a great leader to marshal the strengths and efforts of men, no move forward can be achieved.
Understanding what is leadership is not easy, for there are many explanations and forms of leadership. A leadership may mean getting a single task done or it might mean taking charge of a group of people on a large-scale and leading them to a number of goals. Leadership might refer to a football coach leading the players to victory time after time, or it might refer to a Class Representative organizing school projects and programs while also motivating the students to do more for themselves, the university and each other.
A basic way of understanding what is leadership is to look at it from the perspective of an individual’s willingness to undertake responsibility and accountability for himself and a group of other people in a given situation or aspect of life. Leadership is a trait that is displayed only when the person chooses to undertake the responsibility by his own volition, and not when he is entrusted with the same by a greater authority. The definition of leadership varies from context to context, but one element remains the same: a good leader is one who is skilled at handling people, organizing tasks and motivating others.
Good leadership is marked by the presence of inspiration, motivation and enthusiasm. Leadership skills involve being able to infuse others with the same passion that you yourself hold for the task at hand, thus enabling them to take command in their own respective ways, contribute their best towards accomplishing the goal and also inspiring them to encourage each other to put their best foot forward.
In a nutshell, a strong leader is someone who can rally people around a cause or goal and bring them to channel their strengths and limit their weaknesses and bring their A-game to the fold.
Apart from interpersonal skills and management skills, a leader must be foresighted and must be a visionary. After all, what is it that sets a leader apart from a manager? It is the ability to grasp the bigger picture and have a far-sighted, almost intuitive understanding of all the little details and events that might unfold with the course of time. A leader, in other words, should posses a mental crystal ball which enables him to look beyond the haze and see possibilities and outcomes that others cannot.
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