What Does It Take To Be A Leader?
While Hollywood visually depicts leaders as ancient warriors from Sparta or blue-toned creatures from Avatar, according to numerous studies, physical characteristics are not factors that determine effective leadership.
Traditionally, the loudest and most involved student in a class may be labeled as a leader, but it is not about how many people can hear the person speaking, for it is more about how many people follow their words.
In honor of “The Pacifican’s” Student Leadership Issue, we decided to dive into what it means to be a leader, and how students can become better leaders among their friends, classmates and soon to be co-workers.
The average person has their own perceptions as to what formula makes a great leader–from the job title to their appearance.
Some traits, though more visible, are not must-haves for effective leadership, and many are actually just stereotypes.
Businessknowhow.com describes five of the major myths of leadership as follows:
1. Leadership is a rare ability only given to a few.
2. Leaders are charismatic.
3. The person with the highest rank or title is the leader.
4. Effective leadership is based on control, coercion and manipulation.
5. Good leaders have more education than other people.
Chris Sablynski, Ph.D., who is currently teaching Business 279-Leadership to the second-year MBAs (Master’s in Business Administration) at Pacific, breaks down the basics of leadership into six main points that aspiring and current leaders should focus on.
Sablynski’s leadership tips are as follows:
1. Know yourself! Do you really want to lead?
2. Why you and not someone else? What about you is special?
3. Set the direction and know the context.
4. Take care of your followers!
5. Keep an eye on the goal and accomplishments.
6. Reinforce success. How are you doing and what is working?
Sablynski mentioned that number one and six are the more important points to emphasize. “How you are leading refers to the ethical practices of leadership and setting an example that is worth following,” explained Sablynski.
“Forbes” magazine proclaims there are five Cs concerning effective leadership: “Character, commitment, courage, confidence and communication.”
Leadership is not something that can be learned overnight, and like a sport, takes practice and determination to improve.
Ryan Redondo, the head men’s tennis coach at Pacific, stated, “When looking for potential players for the team, I look at their goals and personal accountability. I believe these are important for any person who is looking to lead a group and make positive change.”
While in many countries leaders or head figures are still born into a position of leadership, many countries, such as the United States, depend on large-scale voting to elect those who deserve to lead. Whether it be leading a group in class, an organization on campus, or a business, leadership is something that can always be practiced and improved.
Determining your own leadership style can also help point out strengths and areas that may need some help. There are many online resources that can help determine which leadership style you possess.
To get involved on campus and gain leadership opportunities, visit University of the Pacific’s student organization website.