• Published
  • By Lt. Col. Leeann Roberts
  • 21st Security Forces Squadron commander
The Business Dictionary defines leadership as the act of inspiring subordinates to perform and engage in achieving a goal. The goal is attained by mutual cooperation, cohesive behaviour and a leader who infuses a sense of positivity while directing others to reach their specified goal.

Various theories have been formulated by psychologists to explain the traits of a leader. Researchers listed those traits as intelligence, extraversion, adjustment, openness to experience, and a general self-efficacy and conscientiousness. It has been inferred that an individual possessing these traits results in good leadership. Another theory suggests that great events lead an ordinary individual to emerge as a leader. Then there is a third theory which emphasizes that leadership is a transformation or a process, practiced and learned. Anyone may become a better leader by learning leadership skills.

A leader is someone who stands not only for his cause, but takes responsibility and also motivates others. There is a clear difference between being a boss and being a leader. A leader is motivational to others and inspires individuals to aim high and succeed. A boss simply supervises over his subordinates. Power naturally comes to a leader but that power is not a tool of the leader. Rather if one tries to control the circumstances with power, it turns out to be authoritarian or even suppressive in its expression.

Leadership is not a quality, but it is an individual's behaviour. A leader showcases a positive attitude and high self-esteem. They assertively work towards the goal but never get pushy for it. A continuous self-study, training, evaluation and imbibing positive things in life develop the characteristics of a leader.

Situations are never in our hands, but the reaction to the situation is always something we can control. A leader not only reacts positively, but also helps other members see the brighter side of the picture.

It has also been noticed that persons considered as knowledgeable, good leaders gain the trust and confidence of their subordinates. Good communication also plays a vital role in this regard, and proficiency of subject is the main driving force. The next factor is the execution of the idea. A good leader always executes their idea effectively. They work as a team, and team welfare is the primary goal. Only a person of high moral values and integrity can become a good leader.

It has always been a matter of controversy as to what makes a leader stand out from others. Some emphasize that it's an innate quality some people possess, while others advocate it's a matter of practice. To sum up, leadership is a quality which can be present naturally, or otherwise can be developed by acquiring desired skills. Leadership has been dissected, interpreted and re-configured thousands of times. In the past 24-plus years, results have always been the same in my experience. No matter how configured or explained, bottom line; if you take care of your people, the mission will take care of itself.