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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.”

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.

It can be hard for creatures of habits to create change, and so not all people make (even 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 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 although it is rewarding.

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

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

These may be questions to ponder for any leader whether already successful or on the way there...

Where does one's vision, spark, willingness, and drive come from?

If not from within?

A leader knows this to be true;

Nobody is coming to save you! You are here to lead your own way.

A leader with followers continues;

Let me show you how you can do the same...

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

the only "element" 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 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, create truer... and all of that! It comes down to; WILLINGNESS!

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

BE creative. In this heart-led leader’s opinion, what you could either have or not have is the heart and the drive of a leader. Both answers feel 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 depends...

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 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 it many times over. Personal transformation is magic! Perhaps it only takes a spark; such as in the gift of a shift in perspective? A clear vision. And beneath it all, there is; willingness.

There are people who seem to one day wake up and go; Today I wish to embrace change. 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! 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 as they are self-driven individuals. Often from an early age. But, not universally so.

When it comes down to it; given the right circumstances and conditions, might all not be capable of rising to the occasion of personal and professional leadership and create their best lives ever?!

If only we were to embrace "it"? Our freedom of choice. If only we were willing to see what we are capable of. If only we were willing to truly lead this concept of "self" before even attempting to lead others. How might you conclude this question; “What does it take to be a great leader?”

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