Early on in my career, I remember being asked if anyone can be a leader. “Yes,” was my immediate response, knowing that you have to cultivate the right skills. Now that I’m 25+ years into my career, I’ve experienced leadership as both a part of an individual’s personality and natural ability, as well as what he or she learns through education, mentoring and training. You need both the nature and the nurture to be a true leader today.
For me, leadership is not about what you say you’re going to do or your process to get there. It’s more about getting others inspired and motivated, as a result of your vision and passion. These are the leadership qualities that go deep into a person’s DNA vs. the skills that are acquired through your learning environment. Although the characteristics will vary, the leaders who personally move me have the focus, drive and passion that just can’t be taught in a classroom or perhaps solely within your business environment.
In 2015, I interviewed more than 50 professional women on my podcast show Women Worldwide. Their roles ranged from physicians, authors, and motion picture executives to branding experts, healing coaches and tech entrepreneurs. Their experience and talent were wide ranging. On the show, many of these women shared their thoughts on the characteristics of good leaders, discussing their natural talent and / or their nurtured qualities.
With their words in mind, I wanted to help you ring in a New Year with a focus on leadership; the leadership that gets people energized and drives their motivation and passionate behavior. If you want to make leadership a priority in 2016, then you have to challenge yourself to uncover your own leadership qualities and skills. But, most of all, a running theme of leaders is to also believe in yourself and others.
Here are several of my favorite quotes from the different Women Worldwide shows, featuring the women entrepreneurs and business professionals who interviewed with me in 2015. These women had a lot to say about leadership and what can make you stand out as a leader in your field.
“You’re not a leader if you don’t have followers … do the things that will make you discoverable to other people.”
“I have a drive to make someone else’s life better … that’s been my mission.”
–Audrey Taylor Gonzalez, author and ordained minister in Uruguay.
“Be confident, but know your vulnerabilities, this is what makes you strong.”
“No matter how tough it may seem, always push through the barriers.”
“Letting the reins go in the company is one of the best things you can do.”
-Ashley Tyrner, Founder & CEO Farmbox Direct, @farmboxdirect on Twitter.
“As a good leader you inspire your own colleagues and help them perform to the best of their ability.”
“Have the belief that what you’re doing will benefit others.”
“Being a leader means building trust.”
“You have to say “yes” to your most compelling vision.”
“There’s nothing more important than trusting the people you work with.”
“You’re never given obstacle in life that you can’t overcome.”
Are you making leadership a priority in 2016, and what does leadership look like to you in the New Year?