“Great leaders aren’t born; they are made.” – Vince Lombardi.

Years ago my daughter told me a story about playing ‘Follow the Leader’ at school. If you are not familiar with the game, the basic concept is a leader is picked out of the group and the followers must mimic the movements and words of the current leader until a new one is picked. My daughter told me this story because she was upset and frustrated with one of the girls in her group. This particular girl cried until she was picked as the leader and then wouldn’t allow anyone else to have a turn. My daughter was powerless against the say of this self-appointed leader.

The reasons I am telling you this story is because it translates so well into all aspects of life where leadership is involved. I am sure you have seen adults who act the same way as that nine-year-old did and while it is not unusual for a young child to act out in this way, seeing an adult act up is just embarrassing. For my daughter, she learnt a valuable lesson in leadership, one that everyone must learn early- not everyone is cut out to be a leader. Not to say that the little girl couldn’t have gone on to become a great leader, but it’s a hard push up the hill. No one becomes a leader overnight especially if they don’t have any followers (or reluctant ones you have annoyed from the start).

So do you know what it takes to be a great leader? I’ve just spilled out a few ideas of who a leader is and what he/she does (or doesn’t do). See how many you can check off:

  1. Leaders don’t seek out recognition; they aim to hand it out to others
  2. Leaders don’t ask to be in the limelight; they want to put others there first
  3. Leaders don’t see themselves above others; they stand upon an equal podium
  4. Leaders celebrate each day as a chance to improve not only others but themselves
  5. Leaders lean in whilst others push out
  6. Leaders have a vision and want to share it with others
  7. Leaders believe in those around them
  8. Leaders listen to each and every voice
  9. Leaders don’t make it all about themselves
  10. Leaders can make a difference
  11. Leaders can handle criticism
  12. Leaders can be honest with themselves and others
  13. Leaders stay humble
  14. Leaders stay energised
  15. Leaders never dismiss others
  16. Leaders know how to delegate
  17. Leaders play fair under all circumstances
  18. Leaders are efficient
  19. Leaders are charismatic (or, at least, pretend to be)
  20. Leaders are effective communicators
  21. Leaders are influential
  22. Leaders care
  23. Leaders dream

Did you make the cut?

Originally published on LinkedIn  and on the SG Partners Blog