Everyone has leadership potential, and Graeme McDonald, Director of Solace, highlights some of the ways in which it can be developed.
(This article was originally published in Government Business)
What makes a great leader? There has often been a debate about the key traits that a good leader should have: knowledge, authenticity, drive, empathy, and even heroism for some.
We will have all experienced attempts at heroic styles of leadership – and while a hero may, on occasions, seem attractive – effective and sustainable leadership is less simplistic. The heroism of ‘great man theory’ is the earliest and perhaps most extreme example of trait leadership theory – that effective leaders share common personality characteristics, qualities that are innate and that leaders are therefore born and not made.
Some individual traits are of course helpful, but leadership is far more complex and not merely a gift. Heroes might have short-term benefits, but they are rarely contagious and quickly lose impact.
Whatever an individual’s personal characteristics, behaviour preferences or the organisational culture within which you operate, everyone’s leadership potential can be developed.