The Nature of Leadership

Despite the growing industry of leadership camps and a huge variety of books on the subject, I have come to believe that the traits of a leader are inborn. While influenced by mentors along the way, natural leaders have an easy rapport with others and possess a deep understanding of human nature.

Not inclined to sit in an office and bark orders at subordinates, true leaders have both the willingness to involve themselves in all areas of their field and the understanding that such involvement is appreciated by those whom they lead. Admiration and respect come with the decision to be part of the solution rather than one whose self importance keeps them above the fray. While a willingness to designate authority is essential and reflects the key element of trust, good leaders must demonstrate that, through direct experience, they truly understand the problems that their colleagues face.

Leaders appreciate the importance of empathy and positive feedback but are also comfortable with providing criticism in a constructive and thoughtful way. While organizational skills are vital, people skills are the true, defining traits of a natural leader.