One of the most common misconceptions in any organization is that leadership is associated with particular roles and certain titles. Once you reach a specific rung on the proverbial corporate ladder or get that coveted promotion to a certain position, the thinking is, you’re now “officially” a leader.

The truth is , leadership is not something that just happens. Nor is it something that requires a specific role or title. Rather, leadership is a choice. And it is a choice that involves values, vision, voice, and action.

Individuals can decide to be a pioneer from their soonest days. Think about those individuals in their school years who appear to impact their companions in manners that others don’t. Some of them pick clear source for applying initiative: turning into the chief of a games group or proofreader of the school paper or choosing to run for understudy gathering.

Significantly, in any case, different types of initiative are less plain. We would all be able to consider groups we’ve been a piece of in school, in our networks, or at different focuses in our vocation where there was that one individual who was the paste that held the group together. They might not have authoritatively had the title of “skipper” or “task lead,” however they were basic to the achievement of the general group – and there’s little uncertainty that their commitments went a long ways past their particular yields yet rather was characterized by their more extensive effect.

Administration IS A MIND SET

These individuals decide to be pioneers. It’s a mentality; the thought that we as a whole have freedoms to impact and move others.

Throughout the entire existence of humankind, on a worldwide scale, there has never been when deciding to be a pioneer is so significant. We’re confronted with one more year of vulnerability both in current conditions and the future effect of the worldwide pandemic. There keep on being pressures from a worldwide financial downturn. Furthermore, regardless of whether set off by mechanical prerequisites, prevailing difficulties and development, the powerful world of politics, no matter how you look at it initiative is a lot of needed – and required.

In the face of these crises, what are the leaders of organizations – whether they’re the officially designated “leaders,” or simply “members of the team” who are choosing to step up and expand into those roles – going to need to do to move us forward? What does modern-day leadership look like?

Leadership characteristics count

For starters, a foundational trait of contemporary leaders must be courage. I doubt many would debate the need for courageous leaders – whether it be in the private sector across industries, or public sector, in philanthropy, and within our communities and families alike. But courage requires humility and vulnerability – and as such, strong character is a must to amplify the impact of strong IQ.

Courage, character, and competence are some of the most vital characteristics of leaders. One must be able to not only recognize and acknowledge the unique difficulties and traumas that people have experienced throughout the past year – they must be able to empathize with authenticity, and be willing to drive change through both their words and their actions.

Remember: People don’t have a personal life and a professional life. They have one life. This has never been more evident than it is today. So, leaders must work to embrace the “whole person” of those on their teams, they must be both compassionate and empathetic to the realities their people are dealing with. Personal experiences and perspectives can no longer remain entirely walled off in someone’s professional persona.

In addition to greater empathy and IQ, the crises the country currently is facing requires leaders who are willing to be guided by their principles and values and to stand up for something.

It’s not enough anymore to “do things right” i.e., to execute. That’s the difference between a manager and a leader. Managers can make sure teams are “doing things right.” Leaders, however, make sure organizations are “doing the right thing,” which might not necessarily be the easy thing. And true leaders do not define the “right thing” from their own lens, rather they are all about the bigger picture, the greater good, the higher cause, and the sustained strategic impact.

As the workforce becomes younger and more diverse, they will be anxious to do the right thing and tackle social justice, systemic racism, unconscious bias, and other issues. The challenge for today’s leaders is to ensure that they have created an environment where discussion on these issues can occur in a productive, constructive, and sustainable way.

That last bit on sustainability is important. A true leader thinks beyond the short term and creates a culture that will outlast them and continue long after they’re gone. Because change doesn’t happen overnight.

Leadership is a choice.

But change does indeed occur. In fact, change will happen. The decision to transform and lead is a choice. Think of something as seemingly entrenched in professional environments as the requirement to “put in face time.” It used to be that if you weren’t logging plenty of hours at your desk, in plain sight of the boss, you weren’t viewed as top talent. Never mind if you had already completed all your assignments and were simply killing time – you had to stay put until the boss went home.

This requirement around face time has gradually been revealed for the absurdity that it is, and there is less of an emphasis on it. Similarly, systemic bias and other inequities can be revealed for the barriers to optimal performance and a more just society that they are.

Will this transformation come from the top? Quite possibly. But it will also come from the organization at large, especially those willing to assert their leadership and demonstrate that a new, better way is possible. These constant actions of leadership we see all around us are proof positive that leadership is a choice – whether focused on unleashing the potential and performance of people and processes, both through their words and their actions.

There’s a saying that crisis develops leaders, but I think what it really does is reveal them. As we have come out of a turbulent 2020 and into 2021 that remains uncertain, leaders, current and emerging, will be needed to make progress – in every facet of our economy and society at large.

Inspired by my favorite quote from Gandhi, modern-day leaders are driven to be the change they wish to see in the world.

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