As Warren Bennis states, one needs to focus on their individual skillset rather than what society says a leaders skillset should entail. All too often people try to mimic other leaders’ traits rather than exemplify their own. Don’t be mistaken; there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve one’s skillset or work on an area that isn’t quite up to par. However, simply copying a successful leader isn’t leadership and it isn’t how those leaders got to where they are today.
In the passage, Mr. Bennis talks about shining light on one’s skills rather than trying to become someone that they’re not. “…use yourself completely – all your gifts, skills, and energies – to make your vision manifest.” That quote alone sums it all up. Traditionally, leaders are decisive, confident, and persistent. Leaders settle for nothing but the absolute best and expect the same out of their followers. Granted, those are all remarkable traits and are surely common in most leaders. However, this is not true for all types of leaders. Leaders come in all shapes and forms, as we’ve learned. For example, one who is quiet, strong – willed, and respected often times has a very strong influence on people. When the time does come for this person to speak up, people will listen, knowing it surely is something of importance.
Leading by example can go a very long way as well. Leaders don’t always have to be the most charismatic, charming of individuals. People who always perform on a given task have a strong impact on those around them. People around them tend to try to perform their best to compliment the quiet leader, thus making them followers. Lastly, when someone has a set of followers that look up to them, we call that leadership.
Leaders come in all shapes and forms. The traditional leader previously mentioned is certainly a leader, but that particular skillset isn’t true for all leaders. True leaders exemplify their skills, minimize their weaknesses, and continue to progress as a leader. As Warren Bennis stated, “You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.”