Is leadership a trait that a person is born with or is acquired by time? Can leadership be taught? Can the organizations that provide leadership programmes guarantee that every student who participates will become our future leaders?
Firstly, what is leadership?According to the Oxford dictionary, leadership is the action of leading a group of individuals or the state or a position of being a leader.
Secondly, who are the gurus that are known for their leadership qualities by many individuals all over the world? I am not going to mention Porter, Stephen Covey, and other Gurus who are chosen annually in the “Best of lists” (this can be easily checked through various websites). I will only mention the few people that directly come to mind whenever we are asked about leaders: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Jamal Abdul Nasser, Shaikh Rashid and, Shaikh Zayed. These individuals have been called leaders because of the roles they played and all the accomplishments they have made. They inspired individuals all over the globe by the work they have done for their country. This in turn helps individuals to do better, that is what a leader does, like Mahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” On the corporate side we can quickly mention Henry ford, Lee Iaccoca, Bill Gates, Steve jobs, and Saatchi.
I am sure you have noticed that so far leadership is used as a synonym with politic? Since we are in education then we may also notice that most political figures are great in communications, we may conclude that communication is a trait of leadership.Hence, if you are going to study leadership (and you are not born with it) then you must develop a strong communication skill.
Thirdly, let us distinguish between positive leadership vs. negative leadership; negative leadership is when a powerful and dogmatic leader takes his country/organization/unit to destruction through actions and quotes that encourage the group to follow malicious routes.Positive leadership on the other hand happens when the leader is highly educated and will only say or do the best to his country/organization/unit.
Fourthly, is leadership linked to communication? Well, a leader must be able to lead by both words and actions, as the saying goes “walk the talk” and talking is an act of communication. Keeping the team informed is also a part of communication and the latter can happen upward, downward and across the organization/country/unit.A leader must allow this to happen else, leadership will be incomplete.
Now let’s talk about our students, and why don’t they choose leadership as a major? Is it because they are not exposed to leaders who inspire? Or is it because we never encourage students to be leaders and to take on roles that are compatible with their personality traits?
Personally speaking, leadership is both a genetic trait as well as environmentally effected traits.How the person lives, where the person lives, and why the person lives are all determinant factors to either induce leadership or evicts it from the brain all together.
Many universities and institutes in the world teach leadership as a major and then it’s linked to education, politics, corporate world or sports. We are trying to explore the various majors that are available out there for our students to show them ways to explore every situation to be able to complete their studies and to find jobs.These jobs can be in politics, education, corporate world or sport, but it doesn’t matter where the students will end up in. The important thing is to learn how to become effective leaders and to exert the maximum effort to have the skills necessary to run a great organization; these skills can be initiative, flexibility, persistence, resilience, communicative and most of all passionate.Always remember that you have a generation to inspire, so work at it and be very communicative.
I attended a talk about leadership and found out that a leader has to have certain traits:
5. Concern for others
6. Self- confidence
So what these two writers had concluded is that a leader is a person that leaves a mark in the company or society, a person that creates a legacy (e.g Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey), the person influences the behaviour of others, produces a new direction also he or she can initiate change, and leaves his or her mark socially.
To me leadership boils down to two of the above traits, mainly Integrity and vision. without these two traits one cannot be a leader, and whether he is a born leader or a self made leader, if Integrity and vision are not there then he or she lack the main ingredients of leadership.
A reader today, a leader tomorrow (a quote from a school I had visited)