Leadership is a hot topic. Go to any bookstore, podcast, or business-related platform and this topic is prominently featured. Leadership is both an art and a science, often times begging the question of whether leaders or born or made? The answer is simple, but the journey is complex as leadership is a more of a developed skill than something you are born with. If it was simply something you were born with, any further discussion of this subject would be pointless, although some people are born with traits or characteristics that predispose them to become leaders.
One of the best training grounds for leadership is the military. Leading a military unit is a complicated and rigorous process, with a range of tools needed to be effective, and the need to adapt, sometime very quickly, as events unfold. The experience and training you receive in the military is transferable to other sectors, and many of our former Presidents and great leaders had the origins of their leadership in the military. This does not by any means imply that someone who does not have military experience cannot be an effective leader. I am simply pointing out that the military embodies the very ideals and practices that are effective in other arenas as you are leading a diverse group of people in a cohesive and effective manner to accomplish a specific mission, which in essence is what one does in the business environment.
Leaders can be grouped into two categories, transactional leaders and transformational leaders. The transactional leader is more focused on the day to day business to ensure things are done properly and effectively. The transformational leader devotes more time to establishing a vision and generating initiatives which support this vision. There is a need for both.
There are also various leadership styles, with each one having its merits and drawbacks. There is no one size fits all. A good leader must be able to recognize which style is best as different circumstances require different approaches. Moreover, the leader must also understand which styles work best for him or her given their personality and skill set.
If you are interested in developing your leadership skills it is eminently doable as long as you are open-minded, listen, accept feedback, and continually look on ways to improve. However, remember “if serving is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you”.