Author M.D. Arnold once advised, “A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them.”
Leaders who are resilient, transparent, empathetic, and humble are among the best. Being an active listener and practitioner of silent leading also are important leadership qualities. Take a moment and think about some examples of great leadership you have witnessed. I am not talking about Australian greats like Malcolm Turnbull, Steve Irwin, or Nellie Melba. I am not even talking about the CEO of your company. I am talking about everyday people with whom you have worked, volunteered, or simply encountered on the street in passing.
Think about the kinds of situations in which a clear leader emerged – someone who was neither appointed nor expected to lead. Once you have a specific example in mind, ask yourself what about that person stood out as someone with noteworthy leadership abilities.
There are five Cs of leadership in action that can help you identify the great leaders in any situation.
Natural leaders are also great communicators. They are active listeners, engaging speakers, and understand how to practice the art of silent leading. They put this skill into action in a variety of ways, including for the betterment of others.
Have you ever observed someone working their way through a difficult situation and wished you were able to handle things with the same kind of grace? Exuding confidence in any situation – from asking someone to give up their seat to an elderly passenger on the bus to requesting that long-overdue pay raise at work – is putting leadership into action daily.
There is little doubt that credibility goes a long way in helping a person become an effective leader. A person who not only is knowledgeable about some things but also recognises personal limitations and knows when to seek help from others is exhibiting great leadership in action.
Merriam Webster defines courage as “the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.” Courageous leaders always are willing to do the right thing, even at great personal cost. They also are not afraid to tackle difficult problems or situations, even when a clear solution is not present.
To effect change and inspire others, leaders must be able to convince others to take up the proverbial sword and follow them into battle. Compassionate leaders exude empathy, dignity, and respect for others. And, they ignite passion in others to engage in leadership in every aspect of their daily lives.
Can you think of some great examples of leadership in action? Send me a message, I would love to hear about them.