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Journey And Definition Of Leadership

In the most modest of terms, leadership simply means a process of influencing the behavior of another person, while at the same time, respecting their freedom. A major part of leadership is the relationship between the leader and the follower to mesh properly. Unfortunately, there really is no simple formula to create a leader-follower relationship; there must be will, encouragement and desire on both ends of this spectrum.

I used to believe that leaders were born, not bred. I felt they had a natural drive to take the initiative and people either have it or they don't. However, I have come to realize that leaders can be made through proper education of communication and interactive skills. According to the Hall-Tonna Map Goals, my belief in leadership was in the first phase of learning simple survival mechanisms. My true feeling was that the world is a mysterious place and I have no control over any outcome that circumvents my life. While growing up, I always wondered why some people were extremely wealthy and others were destitute. Once again, this must have been a matter of fate, borne of some unknown deity, and everyone's life was in the hands of God. However, as I have learned throughout my undergraduate and graduate school education, people have much more control over their lives. They and only they will determine whether or not they will succeed.

As far as leadership is concerned, I have found that true leaders lead by example and the capability to control organizational issues without force. The use of manipulation and coersion are not in the skill set of a true leader. This is another aspect I have come to realize in my journey to understanding true leadership. Leaders respect their followers, their needs and are open to a diverse population without judgments or superiority complexes.

Trust is another major facet of great leadership. People will not follow someone they do not trust. The cornerstone of this is that each follower must feel that their leader values them and is completely fair at all times. In my life experience, I have learned from major success, but more so, from the times that I failed. I had learn from those mistakes, own them and be able to admit to myself that something was a mistake. This goes much further than trying to cover it up or blame someone else. In the realm of business, if I am to lead, I must know how to ask myself how I can supervise and manage others properly. Empathy is very important; you cannot judge anyone until you have walked in their shoes. Providing proper tools and education to complete the job in the most efficient way, job performance monitoring, feedback, recognition, growth, advancement and the capability to see when standards have and have not been met, are all skills that leaders must possess.

My personal journey in the leadership has progressed to the third phase of self-initiation on the Hall Tonna Values Map. Because I know now that leaders are made, not born, I am more confident in my ability to believe in self-actualization. Nobody but me creates my destiny.