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What defines a leader? Are you a leader?

I watched Drew Dudley's talk on Everyday Leadership and it really got me thinking. What qualities should a leader have? What makes a leader capable of leading? Can everyone be a leader by impacting others in small ways?

Do you think you are a leader? Why?

  • W T

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    Jan 11 2013: There are many ways of being a leader.

    And we are probably all leaders in some way.

    How wonderful to see individuals taking the lead in showing kindness, hospitality, love, empathy. These are honorable ways to show leadership, which in today's day and age are very much undervalued.

    I try to lead by example. This is the best type of leadership for me.

    Very nice question Anne, thank you for reading my response.
    • Anne N

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      Jan 12 2013: Thanks, Mary! I was very curious in the responses I would receive as well. I also feel that individuals who lead by showing kindness etc are undervalued. Also, do you think you lead others in everyday life or do you lead others when a situation or a task arises?
      • W T

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        Jan 13 2013: Probably both.

        Certain individuals look to me for leadership daily; and many times I am in a situation in which I just naturally take the initiative and step forward as a leader due to the lack of interest in the others around me to play the role of the leader.

        As I have become older, I have come to realize that some individuals just have a natural way about them to take the lead..... it just happens naturally.....and everyone around them accepts it and appreciates it. I don't know if you are understanding what I am saying.

        I think that a truly successful leader makes the individuals around them feel like they are the ones in charge....he/she serves as a kind of conduit.......and cultivates a spirit of interdependence among the others.

        Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.
        • Anne N

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          Jan 13 2013: I absolutely agree with your thoughts about how some people have a natual aptitude for leadership! I also like your description of a truly successful leader. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! Have you ever had any "lollipop moments" (refer to Related talks: Drew Dudley on Everyday Leadership)? If you would rather not share, that is alright too :)
      • W T

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        Jan 15 2013: There have been several of these moments.
        One in my young adult life, which helped form the person I am today.
        The others all throughout my adult life.

        I'm sure you also have had them.
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    Jan 11 2013: I'm a leader and I quickly become the leader of any given group, whether I knowingly move towards the position or not, it seems.

    I think what generally makes people leaders would be characteristics such as:
    -Knowing what you're doing
    -How to organize / delegate people and tasks
    -Being the most competent
    -Being the loudest and confident

    Some of my personal traits that unknowingly push me into leadership tend to be (but I dont think are entirely necessary as a leader)
    -Having a problem with authority
    -Being independent and don't like being told what to do
    -Assuming others in the group are less competent
    or I could just say
    -Having a problem with authority because you believe the people who would be leading you are less competent and thus would bring team failure with yourself included.

    What qualities a leader SHOULD have should be:
    - Being inclusive and morale boosting
    - Being patient
    - Compromise on the lesser objectives to show team value
    - Acknowedgement of achievements.
    - To be firm when needed.

    I don't think theres a 'one size fits all' model of leadership, although I do believe the right model is usually found in the middle ground of the spectrum.
    • Anne N

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      Jan 12 2013: Thank you for your answer, Xavier. I have also noticed that many of the leaders I've known have some of your personal traits! Do you think that being independent (your personal trait) conflicts with being inclusive (qualities a leader should have)? Or are leaders able to have both such qualities?
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    Jan 15 2013: Anne, I have been at many meetings / conferences / etc ... where the person at the dias was not the dominate personality / leader in the room.

    We all in our lives have made both posative and negative impacts on people some we are aware of and others that we are not aware of. For good or bad we lead by example.

    Often leadership is a situational thing ... medical crisis calls for medical training .... fixing a car engine calls for mechanical skills ...

    What is often overlooked is the difference between a leader and a effective manager. Often leadership is a popularity contest ... a result of DNA (the family business) .... or assumed by a power grab. The real strength in leadership is the ability to encourage, excite, place the right person in the right job, lead by example, and give and receive respect.

    So yes we are all leaders, followers, and examples .. I hope for the better.

    I wish you well. Bob.
    • Anne N

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      Jan 15 2013: After reading your points, I agree that leadership is situational and often times, dependent on chance. We are all indeed leaders, followers and examples to those and with those around us. However, most people often prefer or see themselves as one or the other.
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    Jan 13 2013: Thanks for your comment and question below. I believe I lead more in everyday life, but also in tasks. Thing is, if you ask questions, you learn a lot (as you say) so that you can lead in everyday life, and in tasks.

    Why do you ask, Anne? Do you consider yourself a leader? Under what circumstances? Would you like to be a leader? In what situations?

    I believe you are showing some leadership by hosting this conversation.
    • Anne N

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      Jan 14 2013: Hi, Greg! I didn't use to consider myself a leader because I didn't outrightly lead or guide others. Having said that, it is possible that others considered me to be a leader by example.

      Currently, I consider myself a leader as I am aware that my actions make a difference. I lead by guiding others during work. I would not always like to be a leader in tasks though as I feel that leading requires self-awareness and the awareness of others' strengths and weaknesses. This can be stressful when one is a leader in many tasks and has a lot of things to worry about.

      However, I would like to be a leader in daily life. In the talk related to this conversation, "Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership", he talks about how small actions can profoundly change someone's life. I also believe that with small acts of kindness or joy, I can lead by example and promote a gracious way of living.
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    Jan 13 2013: G'day Anne

    A leader to me is someone you have trust to guide you along the right path & no I don't see myself as a leader even though I do try to give advice to others through my blog & various forums I've been on.

    • Anne N

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      Jan 13 2013: Thank you for the reply, Matthew! :)
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    Jan 12 2013: A leader is someone who is privileged to be a guide to his or her followers.

    This is by the virtue of the leader's position or the leader's influence.
    We are all leaders; most of us are leaders by the virtue of influence.

    A pill seems small, but it may bring healing to a sick body or misery to a drug addict.
    A lot depends on the kind of pill; and even the right pill has to be put to the right usage.

    We should be good leaders, we should be the best leader we can be.
    • Anne N

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      Jan 13 2013: I like how you brought up that different types of leaders would be good in different situations and that we should adapt to be the best leader that we can be. I also like how you brought up that to be a leader is to be a privilege! Do you think that we lead by impacting others in everyday situations, just as Drew Dudley talked about (talk is attached in the conversation)?
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    Jan 11 2013: I think a leader may be the person with the most curiosity, who asks the most questions and thus learns the field. Yeah, I think I'm a leader because I ask a lot of questions.
    • Anne N

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      Jan 12 2013: You make a good point, Greg. People do tend to learn from questions and in turn, learn from people who ask questions. Do you think you lead others in everyday life or do you lead others when a situation or a task arises?
    • Anne N

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      Jan 12 2013: Thank you for the link, Steven! Personally, do you think you are a leader? And if so, what are the qualities that enable you to lead?
      • Jan 14 2013: I don't qualify to answer that.