A lot of people have never thought about that much. Many people assume, “I am not a leader. That is not my role in life. I am a follower!”
Following may be what you have done most of your life- but it does not mean that you are limited to following.
The assumption is that leadership is about personality.
There are many classifications of personalities. The simplest description I know of are these four: choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic.
The choleric is the aggressive outgoing, outspoken type.
The sanguine the people person, friendly and cheerful.
The melancholy the deep thinker and feeler and sometimes the artist.
The phlegmatic the quiet, withdrawn, soft-spoken, seemingly unmotivated type.
There are combinations and variations of these four personality types, but most of us have one of the four as our dominant personality
So which one makes a good leader?
Surprise! They all do.
Each personality has strengths and weaknesses. The choleric may be aggressive but comes across as too pushy. The sanguine, being happy and cheerful, may be viewed as shallow. The melancholy, while gifted and deep, may seem too moody. The easy-going phlegmatic may appear lazy or unmotivated.
Yet they all can make excellent leaders.
That is because leadership is about influence, not personality. It’s about using that influence to cause something to happen.
Leadership is a learned skill, not a personality type.
Every successful leader has developed those skills. He may not be able to tell you where he learned it or what book he read. It may have even been trial and error or lots of failures.
But if a leader is succeeding, he learned it somewhere.
What is remarkable is a leadership style is often colored by a personality, making each leader, whether choleric, sanguine, melancholy, or phlegmatic, completely unique.
“But why should I bother to learn to be a leader?”
I’ll tell you why. The world is miserable, disorganized, failing, completely without answers. Morals are in decay. Families are suffering. Office politics cripple many organizations and governments.
Do you get the picture? It’s a mess!
The world, the church, the government, the home, needs leaders.
Leaders do something about what is wrong. They look for ways to move forward. They choose change, because they understand that if things stay the same, the results will be the same.
Are you totally happy with all the results you get in your life and career?
My simple plan to develop your inborn leadership ability
- Start dreaming about what you could do right where you are, in your circle of influence. Dream about how you could make things better. Have some faith in who you are and how God made you.
- Lead yourself. Leaders must lead themselves first. A few disciplines are in order. Moods, thinking and personal life must be disciplined. Model good positive behavior. People pay attention to that. They follow that.
- Speak up. Leaders must speak to be heard. You have a lot of “gold” inside that no one sees. Offer good positive suggestions when you have them. When you see a problem, force your mind to think of solutions. You may be surprised how many solutions are locked inside your head if you really thought about it.
- Take the initiative when you can. Don’t always wait for someone else to do it- you do it. Don’t always wait to be asked. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You might fail. Truthfully, you’ve failed before and you may again. How refreshing to think: “this time I failed trying to make a difference.”
- Try new things. Fear is most often overcome by facing it head on and going in that direction. Step out of the boat.
- Be yourself. You do not need to change your personality to be leadership material. The sanguine leader is still a sanguine but a disciplined sanguine. The choleric is still a choleric but a disciplined choleric.
So why not become a leader?
If you have any desire at all to make a difference, you can learn how to do it. I can even recommend some great books for you to read.
Go for it and start today.
You can become a leader!