How do we define leadership in today’s society? What are the necessary tools leaders need to be effective in our diverse global economy? How do we create leaders or is this an innate quality in certain people? When I think of leadership I often think of those core values ranging from authenticity, cooperation, generosity, independence, influence, recognition, responsibility, service, and tolerance. Ultimately leaders for me are exceptional people who are able to inspire, have a need to change the world and often a clear sense of purpose and a realistic vision. To become or be a better leader in today’s world takes courage and a risk-taking approach. Leaders require a good emotional understanding and even at times a survival instinct.
There are many types of leaders in the world operating at various levels (community, religious, family, political, military, or public spheres) in many sectors and industries. Some leaders are elected or promoted to positions and use control and power to lead while there are the others who are the silent workers and just the average person that is selfless and goes about their mission and remains unrecognized. Some leaders are passionate and led by their ego while there are others who do not feel entitled and do great work through struggles and long-term commitment.
Then we have leaders that emerge from crisis or conflict situations that are able to utilize necessary hard or soft skills and their emotional intelligence to master a situation. History has shown many outstanding leaders that have undertaken great work and fostered positive change. At the same time, we have those leaders that have caused havoc, misery, destruction and negative results. The more I try to define the term leadership, the more complex and intrinsic the debate becomes and somewhat paradoxical. Often the more one tries to “consciously” be a leader, often one is left alone and climbing up a difficult road. We often look down upon leaders who use their power or wealth to get ahead and the price of others. Is this true leadership?
My personal belief is that to be a leader in any field or industry this requires teamwork, dedication, confidence, kindness and an innate drive. To become or be a better leader personally in today’s world takes courage and a risk-taking approach. Leaders require a good emotional understanding and even at times a survival instinct. Let us know at The Cultural Diplomat what you define as a good leader and what qualities are needed to be a leader in today’s society.
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By E.P. Bradley