“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
That quote came from Vince Lombardi. He’s considered by many to be the greatest coach in American football history, and is commonly recognised as one of the greatest coaches and leaders in the history of any American sport.
So, I guess you could say he knows a thing or two about leadership.
But what about people who seem to be born with innate leadership skills? You know, those kids who are more than happy to take charge in the classroom, while others hide away with a book in the corner.
Picture those kids in the corner and ask yourself -- is it really possible to change their nature from someone who shuns the spotlight to someone who thrives in it?
According to social scientist and leadership expert, Silvia Damiano, it totally is. “Neuroscience now is providing a better understanding of how the brain of a great leader differs from someone who is not,” she told ten daily.
Damiano said there are a range of tools, like meditation, that can help teach those of us who don’t feel confident enough to lead, how to hold a room.
“It will also help you to develop a more strategic perspective of a situation, make better decisions and even demonstrate a more compassionate approach when managing others,” she said.
Other ways to help develop those leadership qualities include engaging in feedback, self-reflection and shadowing leaders who already have those traits.
Ok, so what are those traits exactly?
Well, according to Damiano one of the most important leadership traits is “the capacity to relate to people in a way that creates trust and belonging.”
“Some people are naturally good at doing this,” she said. “They may be able to manage themselves more effectively under pressure and they do not lose their social skills under stress, skills that are crucial when wanting to move people towards action or a particular vision.”
Damiano, who cites Nelson Mandela and Eva Perón as two of her favourite leaders, also doesn’t believe that you have to be in a leadership position to be a leader.
“One of the biggest myths when it comes to leadership is believing that leadership is for a privileged few. The reality is that it is impossible to lead a team or a company if we do not know how to lead ourselves. This means, being able to navigate through stressful times, communicate effectively, know how to deal with conflict and inspire others.”
Here are some of Damiano's top tips to help us get our leadership skills into gear:
Take time out
No mobiles, internet or TV. Go and sit in the park or go to the beach and just disconnect. While you're there think about the impact you're having on the people around you.
Are you more positive than negative?
Ask yourself whether you are uplifting people when they interact with you, or do you complain and gossip? Keep a journal and write down your observations for 30 days and you'll start to see some predominant patterns.
Make an effort to think beyond yourself
What is your legacy? What are you leaving behind so others can learn from your good actions? Are you more of a giver or a taker?
Learn to recharge your energy
We can't inspire others if we are exhausted or out of balance. Do whatever it takes to recover your health.