Emma reflects on her thoughts about leadership.
I’ve been reflecting on International leadership week, which took place from 22-27 November. The purpose of this week was to ‘inspire great leadership, everywhere’. This caused me to think about what it really means to be a leader.
The dictionary definition of leadership states that there are certain characteristics that make a leader successful and that leadership is the quality or ability that makes a person a leader. For example, the Harvard Business Review says the most important leadership qualities are: having high ethical standards, clear communication, being flexible and open to new ideas, etc.
To me, a great leader is ambitious and translates this ambition to their team, taking the team on the clear pathway they’ve envisioned, while encouraging others and the self-development of their team. However, everyone perceives a ‘successful’ leader in a different way, so I asked a few of the bunch what they think makes a great leader. Tracy believes that it’s someone who’s considerate of everyone and their opinions, not just the majority. At the same time, the leader has excellent communication skills (both in speaking and listening). Ellie, on the other hand, believes that a great leader is a people-person, who not only understands people but listens to everyone’s point of view and ensures all voices are heard. She thinks they should portray a mix of leadership styles to match the situation, for example, autocratic and democratic, i.e. being democratic when making decisions that affect everyone, so that the whole team is involved and being autocratic when an urgent decision is needed.
That’s three Rambutan opinions with three different views, demonstrating that there’s no single definition of leadership. There are many different characteristics that can define a leader, but they’re all used differently depending upon the leader and their personality.
I hold the view that everyone can have leadership characteristics, not just leaders. When working with colleagues I believe it’s important to ensure all opinions are listened to and valued to the same extent, while also communicating my own ideas. I learn from those around me; from world leaders to those I work with and translate it into my own life. I look at the leaders around me at Rambutan, and I see great value in how engaging and motivated they are, whilst also being extremely approachable. It’s easy to use examples of people I know as a way to strive to be a better leader myself.
I aim to translate the characteristics I see not only into my work life but my personal life too. Next time I have a meeting, I want to ensure everyone has been able to voice their opinion and has been listened to. I want to be seen as someone who’s approachable, that people are able to ask me questions and feel as though I value them. Everyone can strive to be like the leader they want to be.
Our top tips on leadership may give you more food for thought.
What do you think makes a great leader?