ICTShore.com

We re-branded, ictshore.com is now accelerates.it!

What Is To Be a Leader? 3 Ideas to Become the Best

What is to be a leader? In this article, we explain how leadership is about the goal and the team, not about you

Share This Post

What is to be a leader? What does it really mean? We all can grasp the concept of leadership in broad terms, but it is often hard to give a clear definition. What does it actually take to be a leader, how do you become one? As we will see in this article, leadership is simple, but it is not easy. When answering “what is to be a leader?” you will see that identifying other leaders is easy. Applying the same principles to your own life, however, it is not.

What Is To Be a Leader?

Start with Some Definitions

To answer “what is to be a leader?” we can start with a simple definition of leadership. A leader is a person who applies leadership.

Leadership is the ability to influence and guide others.

This definition comes from TechTarget.com and it is a broad statement that can be used to start a discussion. While simple, it carries an important meaning. This definition talks about influencing and guiding others. It does not talk about enforcing roles, verifying other people’s work or output, or anything along those lines. That is management, and it is not leadership.

Guiding people means setting a direction and allow them to move forward in that direction. Even better, helping them move in that direction, actively aiding them. It is also about influencing, so convincing people that this is the direction they want to go.

The following quote is attributed to Peter F. Drucker, a famous management scholar:

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

Both are needed. However, if we are to answer “what is to be a leader?”, we would argue that the leadership part – doing the right things – becomes more prevalent. That is because you can influence people and have them trust your guidance only if you are guiding them toward the right things.

Leading people and influencing them means changing their point of view, means making them achieve something that is not there yet. In other words, leadership is about change. Moving from the current state to a new, and possibly better, state. Thus, we can argue a better definition of leadership.

Leadership is the ability to influence and guide others through change.

How To Be a Leader

As you saw in the previous section, answering “what is to be a leader?” is relatively easy: someone who influences and guides other through change. Great, but how can you be one?

Leadership is a soft skill, it means you cannot learn it in a procedural way. There is no step-by-step tutorial, Wiki How web page, or quick tricks that will make you a leader. Not even this article on what is to be a leader. Soft skills are learned through experience only. You know the same concepts, and you practice it every day, refining it until you become a real leader.

Having said that, there are a few things that can get you moving in this direction faster. Without experience and practice, you will never be a leader. However, if you practice, following this guide will help you be more effective and become a better leader faster.

What is to be a leader? Like in rowing, it is setting the pace for the others to replicate. It is not telling them what to do
When rowing, you set the pace for others and they work in sync with you. Leadership is the same.

In fact, when people want to practice leadership, they often do not know what to practice. Leadership is such a broad term that it is easy to practice “by itself”. However, leadership is also a collection of behaviors and beliefs. What can you work on? Consider what leaders tend to be like.

  • Leaders are deeply passionate about something; they chase it relentlessly and because of this they can radiate their passion. This influence others to follow them.
  • Great leaders are self-critical, and they are quick to change their opinion when facts show they are wrong. They openly admit their failures and pursue the right objectives.
  • The best leaders put the cause first. They do not care much about their status as leaders, they just focus on pushing a cause forward, and so people naturally follow. It does not mean they have some form of self-denial, or not even that they are especially humble. They just subside in front of the cause they are leading.
  • Great leaders listen. They listen for feedback, for opportunities. And here, we mean truly listening, with empathy and compassion.
  • Leaders are resolute. They are human, they show they are vulnerable without hiding. However, they have no problem making unpopular or even painful choices, when that is the best for the cause.

If you look at these five items, you are starting to have an idea of what is to be a leader. Of course, even with those ideas, applying some concrete actions in your lifestyle can be not as immediate as you would like. Luckily, we have a few more tips toward this.

What Is to Be a Leader: Practical Tips

As promised, we will give you some practical tips that you can use to hone your leadership at work and in life at large. After all, if you search what is to be a leader, you are probably interested in leadership and in how to become a leader.

The first tip I can give you is to find a cause that you believe in and that you are passionate enough to influence others on. Most people skip this step, they “just want to be leader”, maybe because thing it is cool, because they think it will bring them more money at work, or whatever. Truth to be told, you cannot be a leader (not a great one at least) unless if you find something to fight for, and that is worth fighting for. In other words, pick a battle, and recognize that if there is no battle there is no leader.

Leadership is also about the team, caring about each other and working together
Leadership is also about truly caring about your team.

The second tip on this article on what is to be a leader is to listen. Most people new to leadership will think that a leader is the guy that has always the right answer, and can provide it quickly. Yeah, that could be a leader, but the world is messier than that. Simply put, you cannot always the right answer to complex problems. And, of course, getting close to the right answer takes time, analysis, and deliberate decision. Therefore, anyone just shouting orders to others will sound arrogant and cocky. I would argue that this kind of “leadership” is not about the people you lead, but about you. And this brings us to the third point.

It is not about you. It is not. Leadership is not about you. Instead, leadership is about the cause, the problem you are trying to solve. It is about the people you lead, and the outcome you want to happen. To say it in another way, leadership is a consequence.

If you truly, deeply want to reach an objective, and you profoundly care about the people that help you along the way, you will become a leader. And an amazing one. Of course, deep passion and care for others is not something that you can learn on an online article. It is not a set of steps you can execute. It is not even a collection of complex behaviors. Behaviors and actions are a consequence of what you think and feel inside you, about your inner drive. This is what you should focus on.

Rowing is a powerful metaphor for leadership
Rowing is a powerful metaphor for leadership.

What Is to Be a Leader, in Summary

In short, being a leader means that you have an objective you want to reach and you truly feel it will bring positive change to the world. Then, you will put that first, even above yourself, and this passion will resonate with other people, who will start to follow.

This is to be a leader. If you want to be one, you can start by learning more about referent power.

Picture of Alessandro Maggio

Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded ICTShore.com with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.
Picture of Alessandro Maggio

Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded ICTShore.com with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.

Join the Newsletter to Get Ahead

Revolutionary tips to get ahead with technology directly in your Inbox.

Alessandro Maggio

2023-02-09T16:30:00+00:00

Prime Opportunity

Work

1000000