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The subject of true leadership has been raising discussions for years. People argue about what leadership is all about, trying to outline this concept in a simplistic manner. Different experts give own definitions of this term, trying to emphasize the most important (as they believe) aspects of leadership. Due to the importance of leadership in our society, debates over it will not vanish for the nearest 10 years or so. Leaders have been changing the flow of history. Leaders have been changing the lives of people. Leaders have changed a place we call the world. Thus, it is very unlikely that the magnitude of this matter will be underestimated in the nearest future. What does it mean to be a leader? How to be a leader? What are the bright examples of true leadership? These and many other questions still bother a lot of minds today…

What Is Leadership? Is It Easy to Be a Leader?

Before we move on to what we believe to be a definition of true leadership, let us go through what leadership is NOT. In the minds of people, there are many words that mean leader (manager, director, boss, etc.) when they actually denote something different. Leadership is not the same as a position in the hierarchy of an organization. It has nothing to do with official titles. It is not the same as management (in fact, managers and leaders are different because they usually have extremely diverse goals). True leadership is not defined by the presence of followers only. In other words, it is not about influencing others (there are many people who influence others and who are not leaders). Those words that mean leader (in the minds of the majority of people at least) do not align with what true leadership really is.

What is leadership then? We believe leadership is the process of influencing others to maximize their efforts toward the achievement of a specific goal. The key verb in this statement is ‘maximize’ as it seems to give a good idea of what a true leader does (leadership, therefore, isn’t about organizing or directing). It does stem from social influence, not simply given authority or power. Leadership doesn’t exist without followers; in other words, it does require other people working to achieve something. Obviously, there are many styles of effective leadership as well as paths to becoming a leader. But it does boil down to such simple things as maximizing efforts, achieving goals, other people, and influence. Without these, one can hardly imagine a leadership.

Based on the given definition, being a leader is no easy thing. It requires a lot of skills as well as attributes to be a successful one. The question on how to be a leader requires a different format and way more space than one blog page. In case real leadership assumes maximizing efforts through social influence, the subject of how one can successfully lead others becomes too complicated to provide a brief answer in this writing.

Successful Leaders Nowadays

Considering the latest events in the US politics, we couldn’t omit to mention the new President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. While many aspects of his life appear to be somewhat questionable, there is one thing no one can argue with – Donald Trump is a leader. Now the time will show what kind of leader he is.

Richard Branson is another great example of a person with a great ability to lead others. Owning over 400 companies, he has created a personal brand admired by many people today.

Maybe less famous for the majority of our readers, Anne Mulcahy turned things around for Xerox company during the serious financial crisis. She was even named a CEO of 2008 by one of the most reputable newspapers and was featured on national TV as one of the best leaders in the United States.

Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo) was able to not only lead her company to the best financial results ever, but also move PepsiCo closer to a healthy living. This is the case where her position (of the senior executive) and role (the true leader) coincided perfectly well.

The list can go on and on, but for the sake of saving your time, we would like to make a pause. More examples of good leaders can be found pretty easily online. All you have to do is to spend some time on the Internet, and you will be surprised how much useful information you can find there about leadership (including good leader examples).

Best 10 Tips to Become a Successful Leader

Be yourself. Don’t try to imitate people you consider to be the best leaders ever. Just be sincere and don’t try to put on a mask to appear better than you really are.

Lead by example. Ability to lead effectively is usually measured by how one can live it all out and serve an example for the followers. Don’t just say what to do but show even when no one is watching. Set the tone and your people will follow.

Communicate effectively. It is important regardless of where you are or with whom you are talking.

Keep the productivity up. Whatever you or your team does, it should be efficient and productive.

Understand your own limits. It is important to set the boundaries as it will help to avoid havoc and confusion in the future.

Action creates new opportunities. Words and meditations are not taken into account.

Don’t stop in your growth. As soon as you stop developing your potential, your leadership skills will start fading away.

Be aware of the common leadership pitfalls. Everyone makes mistakes, but you can surely avoid some if you know about them in advance.

Think about people while making decisions. True leadership is more about people than about the goals. By thinking about people, a leader will ultimately do the right thing for the company as well. By ignoring people, he is likely to make the wrong choice.

Align passion with goals. It is of the utmost importance for successful leadership.

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