What makes you a leader?


'A leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way' ~ John C. Maxwell

I was recently asked, 'What qualities do you have as a leader' and 'what personal qualities do you have that contribute to being a leader'. Sounds like the same question right? But both have very different responses. These questions resonated with me and kept me up thinking all night, how do I define such a response? There is much more depth than noting key qualities. It really was a moment which I was able to get clear and face some of my personal qualities. I think this is a great way to define your leadership, question your direction and also your ethics. So I encourage you to also do the same, as it made me analyse some of my current challenges and put in place an action plan to strengthen the skill sets I have and also my personal attributes.

'Leadership is the capacity to transform vision into reality' ~ Warren Bennis

Photo - Jess McKelson starting the Sumatran Dog Health Program. A dream turned into a reality!

These questions are excellent to ask ourselves:

What makes ME a good leader? (not a manager)

What do I bring to the table as a leader?

Why these qualities are important?

So lets go back to basics.....

The definition by 'Forbes' describes leadership as: Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.

The definition by collinsdictionary.com for a manager is: A manager is a person who is responsible for running part of or the whole of a business organization.

Leadership requires the person to think strategically and have a visionary approach, but also a place to bring forth your personal qualities which make you a true inspiration for others to also follow your same journey.

So what qualities do you have as a leader? Here is a few of the ones I was able to identify and bring to the first question which was asked the other day from work associates.

1. Commitment

2. Honesty

3. Confidence

4. Innovation

5. Ability to listen

6. Inspire

No-one ever thought people could walk on Mars, fly to space or even explore the galaxy. One vision was all it took to accomplish such an achievement for mankind.

As a leader for many programs across Indonesia, I have been able to be consistent in my approach to the application, where a strong strategic vision has been implemented and everyone working on each project understands and also has the commitment to achieve the same goals.

But it has taken me over 17 years in my professional career to master these qualities and I continue to do this everyday. Even though leading comes naturally, I have great mentors who have helped me shape and position my behaviour to really maximise my ability to inspire others to become part of the vision and achieve some incredible outcomes.

Which brings me to part 2 of my question. 'What personal qualities contribute to being a leader?' There are many qualities but these one stand out.

1. Consistent approach to everything I do

2. Passionate about the vision. You need to believe in it in order to inspire. Why would I work towards a goal if I dont have the motivation or passion anymore?

3. Integrity, respect and honesty. I wont even comment as these are true grounded qualities anyone can bring to any job they wish to pursue. But look out if you break one of these ethical personal qualities!

4. Courage . You need to be brave to be a leader as there will times you need to step up and just follow your heart.

5. Strong communication.

In 2016, I took myself away, conquered climbing one of Mongolia highest mountains (after thinking I couldnt do this) and had some time to really think about my ethics, values and how I can lead others. Reflecting was leading myself on a new path.

If you are in a new leadership role, you are in a position to really inspire others to become a part of the journey. Its exciting times and one which brings about a great sense of spirit from all people who work with you. Only you can demonstrate what is possible and have the ability to bring others along for the ride.

  • Who do you think are great leaders?

  • What qualities do they possess?

  • What is inspiring about them?

  • How can you learn?

  • Who will mentor your leadership qualities?

If you are seeking strength in leading or your about to take on a strategic position, then go back to why and what you have to bring. Having a great mentor to really define and position you successfully, is a good step forward. Because, at some stage you will also need to be the leader and help shape your teams direction, mentor and advise on all aspects. Going into a job not prepared, will often set you up for further complications, so really finessing the art of leading and identifying what you are doing in this position, will assist you in making some decisions about the direction your about to take others!

When you join me on a 1:1 we will have a powerful defining session on what makes you a leader. Really getting clear on what you are currently doing and where you want to go, strategically is the best start to achieving your goals.

I look forward to our next conversation!