Friday, May 27, 2022

What makes a leader? 

When we work as a team, or in a community, a leader plays the most important role. A leader must be able to bring the group together as a whole. So, what makes a good leader? John Maxwell once said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” That quote is as important today as it was when Maxwell first said it. 


Napoleon Bonaparte said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.”  In challenging situations, a leader should be able to inspire others and not lose hope. How can a leader inspire others if he himself is hopeless? How can a leader inspire others if he himself doesn’t know the way? How can a leader inspire others if he himself doesn’t show the way?  


A good leader must have self-confidence, communication skills and integrity. The first fundamental skill is self-confidence. A leader must have the confidence to influence others in a good way and to make decisions. Having self-confidence helps the leader feel secure  and believing in his abilities. Being led by a confident leader will also give benefits to the growth of the team because the team will have a stronger connection and support one another. 


The second fundamental skill is being able to communicate. Communication is essential all the time whether personal or at a professional level. When it comes to communication, a leader should have abilities to build connections with his or her team and exchange ideas and information. Learning communication skills is a process to express our ideas and thoughts clearly and openly. A leader should be able to express him or herself clearly to others without hurting the team. A leader should also be able to communicate well and choose words carefully. Apart from expressing ourselves, listening is the process to achieve effective communication. 


The third fundamental skill is integrity. Integrity will bring value to both leader and the community. I strongly believe that honesty is one of the cores of leadership. In this case, honesty is also about building trust. To me, only if a leader values honesty and integrity will he or she be trusted by the team. For instance, if a leader makes a mistake, he or she should be able to admit his or her mistake and bounce back from the mistake. 


As a teacher, I have learned to be a good leader for my students. As I deal with various characters of students, I should have self-confidence and integrity to guide them through the learning process. I have also also learned to communicate with each one of my students. I thought of reflecting on these three questions: 

1. Am I trustworthy for my actions and the decisions I make? 

2. Do I act in ways that build trust with my student? 

3. How do I try to understand and listen to my student? 


In the end, to me, everyone can be a leader because leadership is more than a title. Leadership is honestly and openly expressing, listening and taking actions. 

Practicing regular quiet times also helps a leader to access inner guidance and stay mindful of his or her actions. 


Yofrina Octika Gultom