Many would agree that leadership typically entails influencing other people in some way. But when it comes to specific definitions of leadership and especially how to achieve success in leadership, there is less agreement. For example, how do leaders emerge? Are they born with particular traits or can they learn leadership behaviour? Do people become leaders because they behave in ways that demonstrate leadership potential, or do they develop leadership characteristics because they are put in positions of leadership? Or, is it that through life experience they come to know themselves so well, and have such a clear sense of purpose that they (perhaps even inadvertently) become an example for others, and though they might not recognise it, have become a leader?
Essentially a leader is anyone who is prepared to step up and boldly be their true self. To do this requires us to be whole and self-aware at a deeper level. Self-awareness and wisdom gives us a certain energetic magnetism which attracts others and at the same time liberates others to also be themselves. Like it or not, when we come into our own power, we naturally stand as a leader for others. No matter where we are in life, no matter how insignificant we might feel, we are a leader when we serve something greater than our self. There are as many ways to be leader as there are people. Research does show however that there are certain distinguishing features common to all leaders. Following are some of the clusters of traits different researchers have identified.
Kirkpatrick & Locke (1991) summarised them as:
- Drive, which includes achievement motivation, ambition, energy, tenacity and initiative
- Leadership motivation – they want to lead
- Honesty and integrity
- Cognitive ability
- Knowledge of the business/organisation’s work
- Self-regulation (the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, plus the ability to think before acting) and Motivation
- Empathy and skill in treating people consistently with their emotional reactions
- Social skill and persuasiveness in dealing with others
- Management of attention – by communicating a compelling vision, leaders focus people on what is most important
- Management of meaning – leaders integrate facts, concepts, and anecdotes into meaning so people can make sense of where they are going and what is expected of them
- Management of trust – leaders are reliable and consistent
- Management of self – leaders know their own strengths and weaknesses, have strong self-belief and generally trust themselves to carry through whatever they begin
- Management of complete concentration – leaders are fully present, which builds their decision-making capability and interpersonal skill
- Management of detached awareness – leaders work with the current reality in a non-judgemental and impartial way which gives them an acute ability to see and understand how things are and what the situation requires of all involved
- Management of transcendence – leaders get themselves quickly into a ‘flow’ state by letting go all concerns of self-image
Unique Leadership Development Programs
Following over 20 years of research and experimentation, including practical knowledge gained via a Master of Business Leadership degree, profound personal experience and years coaching people at all levels with diverse needs, Sarah Newton-Palmer designs and facilitates bespoke programs to develop the deeper awareness that the times dictate. Each program addresses the needs of individuals, teams and the organisation and is underpinned by a highly progressive model of the human evolution of consciousness which addresses the challenges and requirements of leaders in the 21st Century.
Benefits of Leadership Development