Definition of a True Leader…Are you one?

March 18, 2022

“All leaders are great managers but not all managers are great leaders.”

Have you heard that statement before? There is this major misconception that if someone has reached the manager level, they must be a natural leader. This is not true. There is a difference between a good manager and a good leader.

Managing is all about planning and organizing, about controlling and problem-solving, and about budgeting and staffing. Leadership, on the other hand, is about the ability to create a vision and to take people along on that journey. Leaders are individuals with an intense will and tremendous humility.

This just goes on to show that all leaders go through the passage of being a manager but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all managers turn into great leaders.

Leaders have a set value system and a code of ethics that they adhere to. Leaders know what they want. Most importantly, leaders are not influenced by the circumstances. It is this behavior that sets the tone for the people they lead.

Furthermore, they have learned the art of communicating these values and establish a code of conduct amongst those they are leading. Real leaders walk the talk. It is easy to give instructions and wait for others to take action but real leaders show you how you do it. They lead from the front. Moreover, in grooming their people they have an open and sincere relationship that they develop with their teams. They have a clear understanding of when their team needs encouragement and when they need to dole out tough love and they do both with a composure that is a hallmark characteristic of great leaders.

True leaders understand that you cannot control people to do great things. They understand that they need to inspire their teams. There is a right time to offer guidance, opinions and advice and they know when their team needs it the most.

Let me give you an example. When the Indian cricket team won the world cup in 2011, did you notice where M.S. Dhoni was walking during the victory lap? He was walking behind his team. Even though he had led the team to such a big win, he took no credit for it whatsoever.

Good leaders never take the credit because they consider themselves the life force that powers the moral of the people who work for them. They take it upon themselves to be the keepers of that spirit.

The point I’m trying to make is, true leaders, understand that leadership is not about them. It is about those they serve. They know it is not about establishing their superiority or proving their greatness but about guiding others to achieve their full potential.

One other quality of a real leader that I would like to highlight is they know the importance of delegation. They know that there are certain things only they can do and all the other things need to be done by the teams so an effective framework can be put in place. This is why they are not afraid of making demands from their teams.

They keep things in the right perspective and do not take decisions on the basis of emotions. They use their time wisely and know how to manage time so they spend time with their families, and also relax when needed, while ensuring that all the work is done.

The fact is, everyone has room to grow as a leader but in the end, it comes down to the same thing, it is about being loved, admired and accepted for who become on this journey to leadership. Leaders don’t claw their way to the top, they are carried there.

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