What exactly is a leader? Is a leader someone that can instinctually provide the needs of safety, approval, belonging, control and certainty to people around them? What are the attributes of a successful leader? Are they able to be a calming influence in an anxious environment? How can a leader become more influential in their environment? What is it about a leader that allows others to be influenced by them? I have often asked myself, in this world of unpredictability, uncertainty, and lack of clarity, how we can not only generate more leaders that can positively influence others, but develop the essential characteristics of leadership in ourselves, as leaders are the building blocks of society, guiding families, friends, and their community. While it is impossible to reduce the accolade of “leader” to one distinct set of specific attributes, it is my belief that a quality leader is one that has clarity of vision, has conviction in such vision, and has the ability to make that vision resonate with others.
Recently, I have been reading: Resilient Leadership by Bob Duggan and Bridgette Theurer, as it is my intent to work on my own leadership skills and style. In this book, certain attributes of resilient leaders are brought to the table. The authors indicate that a leader has the ability to do all that I have mentioned and more: They are able to observe the emotional systems of reactivity and anxiety while having a calming influence, care for themselves emotionally, spiritually, and physically, and sustain leadership efforts over time. Leaders, as described in the text, are able to reduce the chronic and acute anxiety of the people they are interacting with by diminishing their own reactive behaviors. Essentially, they stop and reflect prior to acting. Effective leaders are able to step back and observe how they are interacting and influencing those around them (with relatively objective extro- and introspective perception). They are also able to find the fine balance between over-functioning and under-functioning.
I believe that we are all leaders in our own sphere of influence, whether we are parents, coaches, teachers, entrepreneurs, colleagues, managers or professionals. As I continue to learn how to better my own leadership ability, I would like to wish you all great success in being that leader for your own families, friends, and community.
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