Three general theories on the exhaustive study of leadership are typically taught. One of the theories floating around the leadership industry is that individuals possess certain qualities that make them “a natural born leader.” This type surfaces mainly when looking at ‘Management theories’ taught in higher education. This theory stereotypes people as having certain inner qualities. Based on the qualities, the individual is more suitable for a position in the corporate world. They try to place the right people in the right positions because they possess certain attributes. Those who are evaluated are naturally inclined to be introverted or extroverted and creative or analytical. Some are take charge type and some are passive type. The ‘Social theory’ says that leadership qualities are a product of our environment or our up bringing. That leads to beliefs or skills. Both of these philosophies end down a path that not every one is a leader, could become a leader, or could handle a leadership position. There is, however, a third theory that is directly opposite to the corporate and higher educational thinking and that is, everyone is called to leadership. The LIFE Leadership mantra is that “Leadership is for everyone.” Best selling author’s Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady wrote in ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution’, that leadership is a combination of qualities and skills, that can be learned. A leader’s influence can then be compounded. Here’s why.
There is a general accepted definition that leadership is influence. The ability to influence one another is tied into the law of attraction? Check this out next time you encounter someone. There is either feeling that you want to move closer toward another individual and are attracted to them or there is a feeling that you want to move further away or are repelled from them. Each of us possesses qualities that elicit these responses. This is how influence is known. The law of attraction proves that leadership is for everyone.
If leadership is influence then a leader could learn to elicit a behavior or a response. What are the qualities of a leader that influence our decisions and can they be learned? Here is a list a few qualities that are found in a leader: Integrity, competency, vision, initiative, responsibility, trust, accountability, communication, enthusiasm, and service are just a few. Are there any qualities on this list that we don’t possess or could not be learned? For example, in the book ‘Love and Respect’, a wife or a husband can increase their influence on their mate by simply changing their actions. If love is a verb or an action then couldn’t we learn that skill? The book, ‘Personality Plus’ describes dominant personality traits. For example, some are passive (introverted) where others are outgoing (extroverted). Tests can be taken that reveal dominant traits. However, we’ve seen where a person with a dominant passive tendency can change and become more extroverted when the motivation becomes great enough. The original tests have different results over time when a person learns new qualities.
The corporate and higher education stereotype would have us believe that only a few have the qualities of a leader. If we can break from this programming then all of us are qualified for leadership. Leadership is essentially a choice. It’s based on change. Orrin and Chris write in their book that it stems from the hunger to grow and we all can grow and learn new skills. There are so many people I have met that have developed the qualities of leadership that it’s not even funny. Dan Hawkins is a great example of someone who would have fallen under the corporate stereotype. I love to give out Dan Hawkins CD’s. I tell them that Dan is a result of the LIFE Leadership product. If he were left to the stereotype of corporate America he would never have been considered capable of leadership. Yet, he is an example of the God given talent within each when we shed our programming that “this is just the way I am.”
You can see how our thinking creates our actions and they in turn develop our habits. It comes down to our beliefs. Our perspective of leadership comes from our world - view. You can believe the stuff you’ve been taught but if the end result is already predetermined there is no hope for improvement. Personal change is the key that translates into leadership influence. If in fact that we are all children of God then we have enormous internal potential and raw untouched talent. It boils down to what the society wants you to believe vs what you consciously know about your capabilities. I believe the leadership quality of vision can be a learned skill. I believe the leadership qualities of competency and integrity can be developed. We can learn to be a servant of others. We can become responsible. Trust is a leadership quality. We can become more credible which leads others to trust us. If this is true, then leadership can be learned and influence can be increased. Lives can be changed. Each of us can learn to make a greater difference by increasing our leadership influence.
Leadership then is really up to you. Any of us could use a proven systematic process of leadership development. LIFE Leadership is exploding because it doesn’t believe the old theories that have permeated our society from higher education about social theories or corporate theories that leadership is only for those few selected individuals with special qualities. If a leader possesses qualities that can be learned then leadership is for everyone. Your influence is just raw material waiting for you to develop it. You are a child of God. When is the time right for us to act like it? God Bless, George Guzzardo