Experts Column

Upping Your LQ - Leadership Quotient

With an experience of about three decades in PR & Digital, Kavita is well known and respected for her work. Having played a major role in the promotion and navigation of the organization as a senior manager, leader and change maker, she also holds position of president at Women's Indian Chamber of Commerce (WICC).

In my younger days, I often wondered if leaders were born or made. Is there a secret to becoming a great leader? Research suggests that you need to have the `genetic raw material' for leadership. For example, extra-version is consistently associated with obtaining leadership positions and leader effectiveness. There is also some evidence that being bold, assertive, or risk-taking can be advantageous for leaders.

Does this mean that introverts, persons of average social intelligence, or those of us who are not particularly empathic will not make good leaders? So here is the surprising bit.   Leadership is about one-third born and two-thirds made. Many great leaders started-out as aver-age people -- they had to learn how to lead.  Great leaders are made through hard work, discipline, and principles. Leadership is a skill like any other that can be developed by consciously investing time and effort. That's good news because it means anyone can become a leader so long as they are serious about developing their skills. Virtually everyone ­ women and men ­ regardless of their profession can benefit from developing leadership skills. 

If you aspire to hold positions of leadership, here are 12 mantras that will unlock the magic in you!

Understand Yourself: Try to do everything to notice the impact you have on others. If you reach the point when self-awareness is your strength, it means you are ready to go on a long-term leadership journey.

Master Your Mind & Emotions: The mind of the man is the man. If you change the mind, you have changed the man. The main ingredient of every leader's success is their mastery over their thoughts. History is filled with examples of leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, performers and many others, who had put the power of mind above everything else and revolutionized the world. 

Become an Opportunist in Thinking: We are a product of our thoughts. Any situation we face can be turned into a suffering or a celebration depending on your perception of it. Every negative thought that we hold about people affects us a lot more than anybody else. Become an opportunist thinker by learning to flip challenges into opportunities, developing a solution-oriented mindset, and channelizing your thoughts in areas you aim to prosper.

Identify Mentors & Role Models: Learn from people who have experience in being a leader. They can help you providing insight on what works and does not work when leading a diverse team of people. Never think you know it all or do not need help. Education is a never-ending process.

Stay Curious: `Millions saw the apple fall, but only Newton asked why'. Curiosity is one of the main traits of a good leader. Stay passionate, curious, and committed to learning something new.

Read a Lot: Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. Constantly read to improve the thoughts and ideas that are produced in your mind. Reading helps to expand your mind and think quickly when forced to make tough decisions.

Be Passionate: Great leaders have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the projects they work on. Let people know that you care about their progress. When one person shares something with the rest of the group, be sure to tell them how much you appreciate such contributions.

Listen More, Talk Less: Being a good leader involves developing exceptional emotional intelligence. The real job of a leader isn't about being in charge. It's about taking care of those in our charge. Listen and communicate as efficiently as possible, with empathy and care.   

Be Consistent: The consistency of excellence is what leads to great results. Greatness is achieved when your consistent actions and behaviours are stacked-up. Leaders build great teams by encouraging their team to per-form with excellence every day.

Give Trust to Earn Trust: When you trust, you send a message that you believe in people and have confidence in them. And in-turn, they're more inclined to trust you.

Cultivate Optimism in Others: Inspire and motivate others in being the best version of themselves or to achieve something exceptional. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

Forgive Yourself: To err is human. High pressure of-ten leads us not to make the best decisions which can set us back. When this occurs, you must have the resolve to keep pushing forward and correct your mistakes. Don't beat yourself-up and question your abilities. Just learn from your mistakes and use them as lesson learned to make wiser decisions.

In summation, the best way to become a great leader is to disregard it as your goal and focus on your learning journey. That includes a combination of your everyday experience at work, with experiences of your own making. I would like to end with my favourite quote: `Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail'.