Leadership, one of the most popular topics of our era, reminds us that how we accomplish something is even more important than the goal itself. Regardless of our position and status in life, we assume many leadership roles during the day. It’s also about our personal competency to fulfill our responsibilities and lead our lives.
There are many qualities that shape a successful leader but may be the most important is a leader’s attitude.
On a TV program about leadership, participants played a game that revealed the importance of applying leadership principles to our daily lives. The game’s rules were simple. Each participant was given four fake gold coins (actually chocolates). Then they were asked to choose the people who had best demonstrated leadership traits during the program and award their gold coins to these participants one by one. The player who collected the most coins was the person who had acted most like a leader during the day.
The most instructive part was the interviews after the allocation of the coins. The players who gave coins to the winner were asked to explain their choices. The most common explanations focused on the winner’s attitudes during the day. Some said, “I gave him my coin because I felt very comfortable speaking to him.” Another said, “He was helpful to me and to others during the day,” or “He managed to find time for me and listened to me carefully.” Ultimately people selected this person as a leader not because of his knowledge or talents but because of his attitudes.
At the time of the 2012 U.S. presidential election, one of my friends said, “If I could vote, I would definitely vote for Obama instead of Romney.” I asked her why. Her answer was interesting. She said, “Because I feel like he will reply to me if I send him an e-mail.” She was willing to vote for him not for any political reason or anything to do with world affairs, but because of the intimacy and sincerity he managed to convey by appealing to emotions. Obama’s appearance, attitude, tone of voice and posture were enough to qualify him as a leader in her eyes.
Now, think about the people you accept as natural leaders, whose ideas you respect. Do you only consider them natural leaders because of their wisdom or capabilities? Or is there something more, even if you can’t pinpoint it? It may be their behaviors and attitudes which carry substantial importance and enhance their communication.