Most of us constantly ask this question, can I be a leader? Are some people born to be leaders while others don’t have it in them at all? Can anyone be (become) a leader? Are you a born leader or a made leader?
According to the great man theory, leaders are born, not made. This theory shows that there are people that were born with certain traits to become natural leaders. Trait theory has been disputed over time, since there are people that possess some of these said traits, and they suck at being leaders.
Luckily, there is the skills theory that shows that leaders are made. You can learn how to become a leader. Leadership is a skill. Hell, anyone can learn how to become a leader by learning what leadership entails. Becoming a leader is a process. First, you need to understand yourself and then understand what it takes to make a leader so that you can mold yourself into becoming a leader.
One of the most useful books I have ever read that can teach you how to become a leader is 21 irrefutable laws of leadership by John Maxwell. This shows the process of becoming a leader and how you can go about it to bring out the leader in you.
What qualifies you as a leader?
What qualified you to be a leader starts with the will to be a leader. When you want to be a leader, and you are patient enough to put yourself through the process, you can learn to become a leader. People have made it seem as if you have to possess certain traits to be a leader.
Well, to an extent, you do. You need to be willing to put others ahead of yourself so that you can be able to serve them. you also need to learn certain life skills such as being assertive, confident, knowledgeable in certain areas so that you have to confidence to lead others.
Leadership is about influence and for you to influence others, you must have the confidence and the ability to build influence so others can trust you and follow you. Remember, there is no leadership without followership.
Why you can be a leader
Why do you need to become a leader? If you feel in your heart that you need to take control and charge of some situations in your life, then you can become a leader.
Sometimes, when you are with people and they can’t seem to make a decision or choose a direction, you may need to take charge. Take for example, if your family meets and it is all chaos, sometimes there is a need for someone to step up to a point of leadership. That is leadership.
If you are operating as a group of people socially or professionally, sometimes there is a need for one person to emerge and take charge otherwise nothing can get done. If often you feel that you need to be the person that is doing this, then you can be a leader.
Who can become a leader
Anyone can be a leader. Anyone that is self-aware enough, aware of their strengths, surroundings, and directions can become a leader. All you have to do is to check that you have what it takes. For example, you can’t be those people that sway with the wind and have no stand and yet you want to be a leader.
Sometimes, you have to learn how to take a stand. For example, you can’t always follow your friends into doing something you don’t want to do, because you are afraid of standing up for yourself and want to be a leader. Being a leader calls for standing for yourself often.
How can be a leader at home, at work, in school, in the community, at home?
Always step up
You can be a leader by often taking charge of situations so that people start to trust you and have confidence in you. If you find yourself in situations where someone needs to take charge, step up and take charge. If you do this often, you will find that your friends, family, and colleagues will start appointing you to take charge of situations and propelling you to leadership positions when they come up.
You have to learn how to be confident and assertive. People hardly want a leader that can hardly speak for themselves. Be confident enough to state your stand, show confidence, and have a spine. The more you do this, the more people will respect you.
Set standards of how you want to be treated. You set standards and boundaries over time. If you show people how you want to be treated, they will start taking cues on how to treat you and respect you. For example, you cannot stand out as a leader if you always let people walk all over you. Learn how to set boundaries and stand for what you believe in. when people learn that they have to respect your boundaries, they will learn that they have to respect you.
Take a course
There are courses available online on how you can become a leader. These courses will help you discover your strengths and use them to propel you to leadership. These courses will show you the elements of being a leader and what you need to do in the leadership process to become the kind of leader you would like to be. Linked In Learning has some great leadership courses.
Books are the best teachers. Imagine books as hanging out with some of the wisest people and learning from them. What’s better, you can put them in your library and refer to them often to learn from them. as mentioned, some of the best books on being a leader are; 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, Simon Sinek Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, How to win friends and influence people.
Books will teach you so much about leadership that you will want to become the best leader you can be. Here is how you can start a reading culture.
Become a leader in your field
To become a leader in your field, you need to harness your skills. There is something in leadership we call expert power. This is whereby you gain power by having expertise in your area. For you to become a respected leader in your area of expertise, you need to be knowledgeable in what you do such that people check with you and consult you when they want information. With time, you become the go-to person when people need problems solved in this area.
Take courses in your area to strengthen your expertise. Read as much as you can in your area to get an understanding of the latest developments in your area. Most importantly, exercise your skill and practice. More practice means you sharpen your skill and become better at what you do and this kind of mastery earns you respect in your area.
Can I become a leader if I am an introvert?
This is a common misconception that leaders have to be charismatic, open, friendly, and introverted, all this sounds exhausting. You can become a leader even when you are an introvert. Some leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi were introverts.
However, because of showing strong principles, confidence, and quiet strength, they still ended up being leaders. As an introvert, you can show leadership by learning how to be assertive. You can be assertive without being loud. This will show that you have confidence and you are not afraid to ask for what you want.
Over time, this earns you respect and people will start asking for your opinion and asking for you to speak up for them. Susan Cain talks about this in her book Quiet which I believe should be a bible for introverts. This book helps you rule the world quietly. You don’t have to go out of your way to be a leader.