Like it or not, it’s your time to lead
People are constantly looking for leaders, often in the wrong place, sometimes with tragic consequences. In fact, pervasive leadership stereotypes suggest that the ideal leader would be a sort of a mixture between the messianic visionary and the epitome of an affirmative personality.
Too many people crave opportunities to assume leadership roles without being true leaders often for unspeakable motives, which can range from their petty desire to acquire wealth to more obscure domination delusions, all of which are inherently unhealthy.
Let’s get over these poor leadership stereotypes once and for all. As a global community, we deserve true leadership, for the sake of our children, families, businesses and society. And of course this requires that we clearly define what we want from our leaders.
So what are we after?
Every leader has their personal leadership style but, curiously enough, inspiring true leaders are often professionally humble, unassuming individuals who never wanted to be in charge of anything or anyone in the first place. They simply never wanted to do it. These individuals take deliberate steps to keep a low profile, despite their personal strengths, diverse interdisciplinary skills and true wisdom.
As children, true leaders are incredibly curious, always wanting to learn more, understand further, question deeper. Sometimes they do poorly at school, because they are bored with the standardized curriculum, as their minds are busy investigating other more interesting things or pursuing creative projects. These children are intrigued by the world around them, which they seek to understand, and they tend to search that information by themselves. But one sign of their leadership potential is that they often do get involved in academic organizations and school life and you can find them spending significant amounts of time voluntarily serving their peers during their student life.
As young adults, true leaders naturally assume roles in society through which they are of service to others and their community, even if their contribution is not flashy and only generates meagre income, as they often put their personal interests second while continuing to feed their enormous curiosity and learning about the world around them.
After several years, true leaders mature as marvellously rich personalities, their profiles are quite open with very different, often hard to understand educational choices and professional experiences, in what can only be described as someone with a wide and apparently unspecialized path.
Most recruiters will pass true leaders by and in their quick hire-for-commission assignments prefer the apparent safety of highly technical and specialized people, who are easier to present to prospective employers. This executive recruiter’s tendency to reject open profiles effectively fuels the leadership and entrepreneurial characteristics of true leaders as they are left to fend for themselves.
This is of course an organic process, and there are no pre-set milestones for true leaders, they just naturally grow and mature. But when they do, something fabulous occurs.
Only then, when the time is right for them – and this can come sooner or much later in life – true leaders reach a point in their life when they simply decide to seek personal independence, declare freedom to pursue their personal agendas, and start solving the problems they were confronted with in their own personal, innovative way.
Then, as their curiosity-fed insatiable quest for knowledge is directed to serving others and solving concrete problems, true leaders come up with different ways of dealing with situations, and that is when the magic happens.
One of the sources of the unquestionable charisma and enigmatic appeal of true leaders is that they do not have a perfect background for the job and they do things differently, in a discreet, unassuming but very powerful way.
Suddenly, people start noticing that true leaders operate differently and with better outcomes, and that is when life effectively tells a true leader “Like it or not, it’s your time to lead”. True leaders never wanted to lead in the first place, they are simply thrust into leadership roles when people decide to follow them.
It is this element of commitment to exercise curiosity to find solutions to widespread problems that ultimately signals a charismatic individual who was thrust into the unwanted leadership position that makes true leaders magnetic and hard to resist, and that is one of the sources for their often hypnotic fame.