Are You a Leader?

Leadership can be defined as the power to take responsibility, the understanding to chart a course and the ability to cooperatively use the skills of others to get a job done

What makes a Leader?

Leadership fundamentally comes from within. The ability to lead comes from the inner workings of an individual – the leaders’ moral and philosophical framework and their capacity to understand their followers. Leadership is a product of character – It is not an accident of birth, prerogative of position or completion of a training program. 

However, the character that enables one to become a strong leader can be developed.  The process involves an intentional, reflective and regular practice. As Donald G Krause put it “the substance of leadership can be glimpsed, but not learned by attending a two-day workshop. For it to take hold, it must be ingested, digested, encouraged and utilised over a long period of time.”

Donald G Krause uses Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and The Analects of Confucius as a basis for his factors that form the essence of leadership – SPARKLE.

S – Self Discipline

P – Purpose

A – Accomplishment

R – Responsibility

K – Knowledge

L –Laddership

E – Example

The Traits of a Great Leader

I agree with 6 of his characteristics but differ on the L – instead of Laddership, I propose that L stands for Liberal. I will explain these factors of leadership and explain why I think Laddership needs to become Liberal. 

Self-discipline means that a leader needs to live by a set of principals’ that he determines are appropriate for him and acceptable to his followers. A leader does not need extrinsic or outside motivation. Leaders are intrinsically driven – they have their own set of values which they live by. 

Purpose means that a leader develops intense determination to achieve his vision and objectives. Real purpose and intense determination are contagious and filters down to followers. Leaders use the magnetism of personal determination to accomplish goals. 

Accomplishment – It is irresponsible to ask others to aspire to something that you are not able to achieve. A leader defines results and guides his followers with the most effective actions to achieve those results. A leader infuses the journey with simplicity, balance and understanding.

Responsibility means that leaders accept the duty and obligation that arise from the trust and power that others give them. The most critical leadership obligations are clear perception, determined action and absolute concern for ones followers. 

When you take the responsibility to lead – you forfeit the right to say – “but I am only human.” Because to be a great leader – more is expected of you.  You need to know when to ask for help and when to step down.  A strong leader owns up to his decisions and actions and takes full responsibility for their consequences. He or she does not back down when the going gets tough – they act appropriately.

Knowledge – is the foundation for leadership. It is irresponsible to lead others in a direction that you are not clear in. Knowledge has three aspects. 

Fundamental knowledge – deals with understanding the science, history and human nature pertaining to your field. 

Strategic knowledge – concerns understanding the needs and goals of followers and competitors and having the ability to create effective tactics to reach objectives.

Tactical knowledge – with experience the leader develops the foresight to uncover evolving threats and opportunities and is able to respond swiftly and appropriately.

Laddership versus Liberal – Laddership means that a leader understands the social and moral contract between leader and follower. The leader is dependent on the follower for power and the follower is dependent on the leader for guidance. Hence, they have to co-operate, for each to obtain their need. 

Liberal is an English word that comes from the Latin word liberalis – which means ‘free (man)’. The original sense of liberal was that it pertained to all that was ‘suitable for a free man’. Hence from a liberal sense – the leader and follower both understand the social and moral relationship between their roles – and freely enter into it. This relationship is no longer based on contract, dependency or need – but on understanding, common goals and mutual respect.

Example – means that the leaders actions become a model for his followers. Hence leaders have to practice what they preach. This also suggests that the leaders character needs to be favourable to the followers. The leader’s standards become the benchmark and the followers become flag-bearers. And by imitating and achieving this bench mark – each of the followers gains the ability to lead. Hence genuine leadership is a cyclical process – that creates new leaders. Any person that wants to hold on to power indefinitely – does not have the genuine ability to lead. 

Find Your SPARKLE – Develop into the Leader You were Meant To Be.

S – Self Discipline

P – Purpose

A – Accomplishment

R – Responsibility

K – Knowledge

L – Liberal

E – Example

Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created  I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you experiences that inspire you. Her intention is for you to unlock your genius.

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