Leadership development is a relatively new and vital addition to college catalogs. Compassionate yet strong leaders are needed now more than ever. But as with any occupation, vocation, or talent some elements must be inherent. Basic ingredients are necessary to work with in building effective leaders.

Following is an excerpt on the make-up of potential leaders from my book, Mentoring Heroes. See if you have what it takes:

“We know leaders when we see them, because we either watch others follow or are drawn to follow their instruction or example. We recognize the roles they play in leading humanity down a path different from the one people of their time were going. Galileo led our eyes to the heavens. Abraham Lincoln led a nation out of slavery. Henry Ford offered us the means to physically reach one another easier and faster than ever before. Mother Theresa directed our attention to the needs of the sick and poor. And Elvis Presley literally had us dancing to the beat of a different drummer. Perhaps, eventually we would have followed someone else in any of these directions, but we didn’t. Those were the leaders we followed.

Researchers have identified a number of characteristics prevalent in leaders. Most leaders have a strong sense of vision and intuition. Communication and listening skills are superior. They also have a high energy level, the ability to function under stress, and the courage to think independently.

Leaders must be able to handle living with the double-edged sword of the role. They are admired and loathed, respected and scrutinized, loved and hated. They are emulated and envied. They are for the people, but never of the people, which promotes periods of isolation and loneliness.

It’s essential for leaders to have charisma. The perfect political candidate will never win without a hefty dose of charm. Followers must be attracted to them to believe their goals and be persuaded to follow.” (Mentoring Heroes, 23-24).

If you identify leadership potential in someone, encourage them to step forward. Mentor them or suggest someone who could. And if you have these ingredients, do what you can to develop into a strong, positive leader within your business, church, social, or neighborhood community.

©Mary K. Doyle

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