Some people seem born to lead and others tend to shy away from it. The main issue is that those that so badly want to lead at times are those that need to be tempered on how to lead others rather than serve their own self interests by getting their followers to simply do what they want. A good leader will be a servant as well as a guide to those that wish to follow, seeking to make the lives of their followers better so as to enrich their own lives and gain the wisdom that is needed to keep those that look up to them happy. There are a great number of leaders around this from the most unknown and personal to the most grandiose and world-renowned.
It is easy to criticize a leader for their words and their actions, but it is also up to a leader to be a solution to as many problems as they can, not the reason for those problems beginning in the first place. Unfortunately as people assume the role of the leader a good number of them tend to forget why they were chosen, elected, or put into power in the first place. The idea of having any power over another becomes intoxicating for some people, and as they continue exert that power the downward slide begins and the people that once supported them start to wonder if they made the right choice.
Leaders, good leaders especially, will sacrifice and at least try to compromise when it is necessary for the good of those that follow them. Good leaders will make the tough decisions with as much humility as is possible and by speaking from a (hopefully) intelligent stance on any issue that comes to mind.
So what makes a good leader?
Your core values need to be intact and easy to access.
Sadly there are a lot of people out there that would claim that this isn’t quite as important as the need to be seen, heard, and to learn how to talk to people and get them to listen. Those are important as well, but without these three values then getting people to listen is going be like building your house on the tide line, sooner or later everything will come crumbling down. Practice the ideas of being honest when you speak, fair when dealing others, and loyal to those that are willing to follow, and you’ll find that people will be with you through thick and thin.
Learn to be successful and then learn how to share that success.
In a way a leader is a teacher no matter how you look at it. A good leader will empower others to see the world in ways that will allow them to further their success and to walk their own path. Bad leaders will seek to keep the people that follow them on the path of their choosing, while good leaders will encourage people to find their own path and their own voice.
A good leader will show people that they do have value and will encourage them to build upon it.
Good leaders don’t take the credit for the success that people enjoy and they don’t credit themselves as being instrumental in encouraging people to find their own value. Instead a good leader will help others to see that they do matter, and will find new and creative ideas on how to open people up to the idea that they are strong, capable, and more than able to share their ideas with the world and know that they are a part of something greater. A bad leader will seek out the credit and laud themselves for being great while not bothering to acknowledge the accomplishments or value of others. If you wish to be seen as a good leader it’s important to simply empower others and do what you can to make them feel that they are indeed valued by others and have a strong and resonant voice all their own. In the long-term people will either thank you or at the very least remember what you did for them, and that’s credit enough.
A good leader will work to be the example, and not just give the example.
A good leader will be there to accomplish a goal with their followers, not watch and criticize as those following them try to do everything they demand. A leader is only a leader if people are willing to follow, and in many cases people are only willing to follow if that leader is willing to traverse the metaphorical trenches with them. A leader that has been through what they have seen and done, at least enough to relate, will often gain the respect and the admiration of the people in a way that a leader who sits and watches from afar never will.
Lastly, don’t just speak of what has to be done, actually be a part of the solution. Good leaders will seek to find a way to help those that follow and believe in them, they will not sit idly by and wait for their followers to come up with ideas on what to do as they take all the credit for ‘inspiring’ them. A good leader, perhaps even a great one, will laud those that come up with a way to better their lives and those around them, and will gladly give credit where it is due.
A good leader will realize that no matter how many follow them that they are still in service to something greater than themselves.