Not A Born Leader

My father is a great leader and, at least to me, it seems like he’s a born leader.  I grew up watching him lead very smart and successful people.  He started his own company and many wonderful and very capable people followed him, and several still follows him today, two and a half decades later.  That’s a sign of a great leadership to me, when people are willing to follow you for such a long time, especially in this day and age.  I also had the beliefs that leaders had to be charismatic, confident, smart, quick on their feet, always able have a snappy response.  Leaders should be “alphas”, aggressive, and always speak with volume.  All these traits, I thought, you either were born with and you can be great leaders, or you just don’t have it and can’t ever become a leader.

Unlike my father, I did not have the charisma he portrayed and lacked the confidence I thought you surely had to have to be a good leader.  I was not aggressive and definitely was not an alpha.  Instead, I was very shy and timid, a complete introvert.  At the time, I thought I didn’t have what it took to be a leader and would never become a good leader like my father.  Lacking the confidence and not born with the leadership traits necessary, or so I thought, I still had the desire to become a leader.  This is one of the many times in my life I’m glad to have been so wrong.

As it turns out, leadership are skills that can absolutely be learned, developed and continuously improved upon.  You need not be born with alpha personalities nor do you need to be charismatic and always have a snappy comeback.  There are many qualities of a great leader and the more you can learn and develop, the better leader you will be.  However, the three main qualities at the core of good leadership are honesty, integrity and empathy.  Regardless of your personality, what you were born with, what you are today, start learning and developing your honesty, integrity and empathy.  That will set you up with a strong core and get you on your way to becoming a great leader.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve worked hard at developing those core skills and picking up many new ones along the way.  They’ve all helped me become a confident leader of an organization, leading a group of wonderful young leaders in their own right.  As I help others become better leaders, I’m still learning and developing my leadership skills in the process.  Leadership is an ongoing learning and developing process.  As long as you have the desire, whatever you think you lack can all be learned.  So get up and start your journey today.

Photo by: Minnie Zhou

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