It doesn’t seem to be a question that warrants a lot of thought and insight. However, for some reason, I decided to give it a lot of thought and try to come up with reasons why I consider myself to be a leader.
As long as you are able to understand and empathize with people, you already have what it takes to become a leader. This is probably the most significant skill that is required for any one to succeed as a leader.
Once you stop being empathetic, you lose touch with your people and stop leading them (irrespective of your title).
Curiosity leads you places. It allows you to explore and experience things in ways that allow your mind to constantly grow.
Curiosity fuels the ability to question the norm, leading to innovation. Curiosity also fuels the ability to explore and find what works and amplify the same.
Curiosity fuels the ability to experiment – which if done well, leads to learning.
Vision is nothing but the ability to look at the present and see the seeds of possibility. If you can see what is and can envision what could be, you have the ability to craft a vision.
If you look at all the three skills that I mention above, each leads and feeds into another and create a positive reinforcing loop. You are empathetic to a set of people, understand their lives, are curious about stuff that works and that doesn’t work and are able to envision a future where the stuff that doesn’t work can morph into stuff that works and the one’s that do work can get amplified.
Your curiosity allows you to keep exploring things, so that you can learn. It also allows you to experiment with small things and learn from the results of these experiments.
You can also see that each one of these are qualities that we can enhance by putting in place habits and routines. While it is extremely difficult, albeit not impossible to get someone to become curious or empathetic or a visionary, it is definitely possible to significantly increase the ability to be empathetic, curious and visionary, once you have these in you.
I strongly feel that the ability to lead is like any other muscle in our body. I would call it “Leadership Muscle”.
The more you exercise this muscle, the better your muscle can perform.
So, reflect upon yourself and ask these questions.
- Do I have the ability to truly empathise with someone?
- Am I curious and do I constantly experiment and try to learn?
- Am I able to see seeds of possibilities by looking at the present?
If your answer to all these questions is a “YES’, you definitely are a leader. You need to cultivate these skills as you go along and never lose touch with these skills.
If your answer to some of these questions is a “YES’, you have the potential to be a leader. You need to work on improving the skills that you already possess and work on building the capability on the skills that you still need.
If your answer to all of these questions is a “NO”, then it is much easier to find someone whom you believe in and has these qualities, and help them realise their vision.
What if You dont have these but still want to lead
Alternately, if you have conviction that you are meant to lead, then find a teacher who can teach you these skills. It would be best to find a practitioner and first support them in realising their vision and thereby in the process build your leadership muscle.
So, Are you a leader?