How to become a leader?

The Law of Process

People often ask leadership experts whether leaders are born or made. There are many examples of people who have taken on the leadership mantle at a very young age and seem natural at it. However, there are also many examples of people who did not display any leadership ability when they were very young but eventually developed into great leaders.

The ability to lead people is not a single skill but a collection of skills and abilities which can be learned, improved and honed. Leading is a set of characteristics and skills that take time and effort to develop such as experience, emotional intelligence, discipline, vision, timing, momentum, people skills, networking, teamwork etc. Leadership is not just tangible skills such as technical knowledge but intangible factors which require experience to develop and master.


There is a common saying that “Leaders are readers”. The capacity to learn from books, experiences and observation is a key quality of a leader. The ability to develop and improve their skills is the difference between a leader and a follower. People overemphasise the importance of positions or roles and events and underestimate the power of constant learning and development. They want quick solutions and fixes.


If you continually work on improving yourself daily, then it will compound quickly. Certain events are inspirational and can provide the motivation to start. But following a daily process of improvement is the key to long term success in developing your leadership ability.


Leadership is a daily process. It does not develop overnight. The law of process is important in every walk of life regardless of your goals. It also applies to leadership. You must have an attitude of constant action, reflection, and improvement in order to succeed. There are no shortcuts.


You do not become a champion in a match, you simply get recognised there. You lift the trophy, or you are presented with the belt. Champions are made in daily training. There are no overnight successes. If you do not give your very best, you will not be crowned the champion.


Leadership development goes through five phases:


(i) Not knowing what you need to know

Only few people think of themselves as leaders. If you know that leadership is about influence, then naturally you will want to influence people.  Regardless of your position or title you will want to increase your leadership ability. When you do not know what you want you need to know you will improve your leadership ability.


(ii) Knowing what you need to know

Awareness of your ignorance is usually the first step towards progress. You may be placed in a leadership position and realise that no one is following you. Knowing in which area you are ignorant is a big step towards growing as a leader.


(iii) Knowing what you do not know

When you know what you don’t know then you can come up with a plan to develop your leadership abilities. You can learn from books, seminars and courses. Seek out great leaders as mentors and coaches. You will need to sacrifice your time, money and effort. If you don’t then your success will be limited.


(iv) Knowing and growing will show

Learning and growth will eventually show in your ability to influence people. Even if you are not in a leadership position one of the best things you can do is to develop your leadership abilities. Start the process now. Make it a daily practice. If an opportunity comes then you will be ready.  You will be a leader that can influence people towards a vision to help your team to succeed.


(v) Just go because you know

When you have experience and leadership abilities you can just show up and make a huge difference. Your influence is directly proportional to your ability to lead.


If you want to become a leader, the good is that you can learn it. Everyone can do it, but it will not happen overnight. You need to work hard, follow the process, improve daily and you will become a leader of great influence and effectiveness.


Action Plan

Write a personal plan for developing your leadership abilities. What books can you read? Select the material you want to study and put it on your daily schedule. Start today.

Provide opportunities for your team members to learn and grow their leadership abilities. Schedule time for their growth. Create a culture for learning and growing.


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Posted by ypsociety