What Does Leadership Mean To You?

Rajeev Mudumba

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There are many people who have authority over us, but there are few true leaders.

Leadership is not based on the amount of responsibility you carry or your rank in an organization. It’s not about how much authority you may hold over others.

A leader is somebody who does what is right, good, and helpful — and not just because it’s their responsibility or their duty. Leaders are people others look up to with admiration. They are the ones who go above and beyond in trying to make life better for their family, community, or business associates.

This may sound like a pipe dream, but leadership can be learned. People who are true leaders will become more successful as they develop good habits and discard those that do not serve them well. When you practice these virtues, you will become the person others look up to because of your character, not your position or authority.

1. Personal Growth

The most important responsibility you have is to yourself. If you cannot develop yourself into a better person, your position in life means nothing. A leader is somebody who works hard on himself or herself in order to grow — mentally, emotionally, and physically. Without personal growth , all other virtues are meaningless.

What does personal growth look like? It’s more than just attending seminars and conferences to acquire knowledge. It’s about taking what you learn from those experiences and applying it to your own life. Take time for introspection as well as studying others. A leader is always learning, even from those who are younger or less experienced.

2. Courage

Courage is the ability to do what you should do, even when your emotions or current mindset are telling you to avoid that responsibility. Only those who have courage can lead — otherwise, leadership will fall on those willing to take charge.

You don’t have to go out looking for opportunities to demonstrate your courage. Sometimes being brave is about staying put and doing the right thing when you want to run. Do not be afraid of who people expect you to be, but rather show courage by being yourself and standing up for what’s good and helpful.

3. Responsibility

Responsibility is the foundation of leadership because without it, nobody would trust your judgment or direction. A leader is somebody who does what he or she says and says what he or she does. Responsibility is staying true to your words and actions, even when it’s difficult.

Leaders accept responsibility for their own lives and the problems they encounter; they don’t blame others for them. They also take responsibility for their words and actions. When you speak, do so with sincerity and authenticity. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it and move on.

4. Integrity

Leaders have the courage to embrace what they know is right — even when no one else does. They practice integrity in their speech and actions, even when nobody’s watching. The only time when you can truly be yourself is when you are alone; therefore, influence others by demonstrating how your actions identify with your words.

5. Trustworthiness

A leader who cannot be trusted is like a car without tires — useless on the road. If people do not trust you, they will not follow you, no matter how worthy of that position you are. A leader must be someone whom others can depend on in order to do what is right, good, and helpful.

6. Love

People will follow you when they know your leadership is guided by love. Instead of using your position to get ahead, lead because you want the best for those around you. Real leaders lead with their hearts, not simply to advance their own interests. They truly care about the people they serve; in turn, those people will follow them.

7. Hope

The road to leadership is often filled with obstacles and challenges that can cause even the best-intentioned person to give up when he or she feels it’s no longer worth the journey. Leaders are those who keep moving forward, even when they cannot see what’s ahead or if their efforts make no difference at all. They have hope for a brighter day.

8. Humility

It takes humility to lead, as well as to accept leadership. A leader does not brag about his or her accomplishments or possessions; to do so would show lack of humility. It requires courage to be humble because you could be seen as weak if you admit your shortcomings and weaknesses. But the truth is, nobody’s perfect — nobody knows everything. We all have things to learn, but we can’t do that unless we are open-minded enough to be teachable.

9. Grace

It is not always easy to lead, but leaders are those who show grace in the face of adversity. They remember Christ’s example of dying on the cross for sinners, even though he was innocent and perfect. Leaders do not retaliate when they are mistreated or slandered by others. Instead, they commit themselves to the cause and encourage those around them as best as they can.

10. Compassion

The last characteristic of a leader is compassion. Leaders take their role seriously and realize that it is not just about them. They put the needs of others ahead of their own. Because they value those people who look up to them, they show real concern for their well-being and give generously of themselves without expecting anything in return.

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Rajeev Mudumba is a dynamic entrepreneur, executive, business strategist, coach, and advisor. He is also an accomplished author, speaker, and thought leader. Above all, Rajeev is a diehard optimist with a "can do" attitude. Subscribe to Plan B Success podcast on your fav platform or www.planb.live. Also, subscribe & watch on YouTube @ http://bit.ly/2YegieF. Don't forget to share & spread the word!

Ashburn, VA
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