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  • Writer's pictureMaja Arnadottir

What Does It Take To Be A Great Leader?

Alexander the Great

“What does it take to be a great leader?”

An experienced, successful, heart-based leader answered my question;

“People either have it or they don’t.”

As a coach I look for possibilities and potential for growth and evolution. To be honest, the answer felt slightly disappointing.

I asked the leader to clarify. “How do people either have "it" or not?

For a moment, I wondered if life could be this "set in place" and we as humans were doomed to follow our "domestication” rather than go by our personal choices?

Is it true that only some people have what it takes to grow into leadership?

(Am I a hopeless romantic for wanting to believe than anyone can!?)

The leader clarified; "You either have the drive and the heart of a leader or you do not.

Not everything can be taught or learned. "You must get it, WANT IT... and have the capacity.”

It was a great statement. I had to concur. But, still...

All is a matter of perspective.

It may be so that some “elements” are non-negotiably required for leadership potential.

The greatest guru*, mentor or coach could not make someone "get it, want it or have the capacity” for leadership. Personal leadership is a lifelong journey which can only come from within. We are all made by our choices and so a person has to be willing to lead, both self and others. A person has to want to embrace change and evolution. A person has to want to change old ways of being and move out of resistance and into a state of positive flow. It can be hard for creatures of habits to create change, and so not all people make (even the most necessary) changes. We all witness successes and more often failures but leaders are consistently the ones who keep pushing and moving the goal forwards. Wether guided by will or vision, leaders are in fact a "group of a select few" as most humans do not rise to grow into leadership. Most humans choose to be followers. Even in their own lives...

This is why the journey of a leader can feel lonely yet it can also feel rewarding on a deeply personal level.

So, what does it take to be a great leader?

And, do you feel there is an actual "it" factor for leadership potential?

These may be questions to ponder for any leader whether you are already successful or on your way to "getting there".

Where does one's vision, spark, willingness, and drive come from? If not from within?

A leader knows this to be true; YOU are here to lead your own way! As a leader, YOU can not also be a follower. A leader with followers continues... what other choice is there?

Let me show you how you can do the same... you simply have to realise this;

Nobody is coming to save you!

In my coaching opinion, (if there were such a thing)...

the only "factor" one could either have or not have in terms of leadership potential is; willingness.

Without willingness for greater self-awareness, reflection, positive change making and creativity in Life & Work... there will be nothing else to expand upon.

To be "destined" for leadership, means the person has willingness to change, open up, try new ways, love deeper, trust, create, be more real... and all of that!

It comes down to; WILLINGNESS!

(In my humble opinion ;))

In all areas of our lives, we must connect with our willingness to create changes and

BE creative. The heart-led leader’s opinion was that you could either have or not have...

the heart and the drive of a leader. Many perspectives can be true.

Are we born with leadership potential or do we grow into it?

And, so I asked another successful visionary leader; What does it take to be a great leader?

His one word answer; Vision.

I asked the third successful and very effective business leader; What does it take to be a great leader? Her three word answer, delegate, delegate, delegate!

Is willingness, heart (vision) and drive something innate for a human being?

Who knows? It probably depends on endless factors...

Coaches live for inspiring champions and can rarely help themselves in remaining hopeful that so-called “conditional elements” of personal and professional leadership can possibly be born in an instant!

Many coaches hold seminars, write books and inspire people to grow in leadership. If you are a great leader or a great coach, you will have seen many times over that personal transformation is magic to witness! Perhaps it only takes a spark; such as in the gift of a shift in perspective? A clear vision. An inspiring pep talk?

But, beneath it all, there has to be; willingness.

There are those people who seem to one day wake up and go; Today I wish to embrace change! Yay! Today I am game to show up bigger and better! Today I wish to be a great leader in my life and work. Let's go! Yes, those people exist. I have met a few.

Although, most of the leaders I meet claim to have had a spark of motivation for a long time if not forever as self-driven individuals. This drive often started at an early age. But, not universally so. Many have also been "thrust" into leadership and stood up to meet the call and grew into leadership. Imagine Ukraine's president who was an actor before becoming president and is now highly recognised for his leadership and bravery.

When it comes down to it; given the right circumstances and conditions, could all humans be capable of rising to the occasion of greater personal and professional leadership and choose to create what they can create with what they have? If only we were to embrace "it"?

Embrace our freedom of choice (especially when we have it) and also embrace that sometimes it may feel as if we "have no choice" but to heed the call.

Sometimes it is our time to meet a higher calling.

If only we were willing to see what we are capable of without ever having to be thrust into chaos or conflict. If only we were willing to truly lead this concept of "self" before attempting to lead others. If only....

How phenomenal would our future be if we led our lives with heart and true intentions?

We step up to the plate when needed and lean back to let others "do their thing".

We know ourselves, who we are and where we come from and allow our lives to be an act of inspiration and service by getting our ego out of the way!

Are you willing to face your ego? All leaders have to face themselves first.

How might you conclude this question; “What does it take to be a great leader?”


*if anyone tells you they are a "guru"... run in the other direction.


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