What makes a leader?

Influence is THE measure of leadership. If you don?t have it, you will not gain the confidence of people to follow you.
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Leaders can?t be identified from a list of how people look, how they speak, what they do or how they do it.
John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandella, Mahatma Gandhi.

These are all names people will give if you ask for an example of a great leader. If you ask some of the younger generation the names may be different. Perhaps Angelina Jolie as she influences governments and moves public opinion. Perhaps when you live in the world of social media it is Katy Perry with the highest number of followers globally.
They are not leaders I hear you say. Are you sure? A leader influences. In modern popular culture celebrities certainly do that. Leadership is after all, not defined by leading people in a direction that others view as right, sensible or serious. There are plenty of leaders who took many millions of people in directions that demonstrated the very worst humans are capable of.
Whoever they are if you have a group of people you can always spot a leader. They find a way to stand out. This may be deliberate or unconscious, some stepping forward to take the lead, others standing back observing.
It is about their ability to read the room, be sensitive to the situation and adapt to it. Judging the seriousness of the task. Knowing where the participants are in the emotional journey and understanding what they collectively need to allow them to move forward. Being able to read these indicators quickly and accurately is what defines the way a leader responds. We have all seen the ?wanna be? leader, who bounces into a sensitive situation, with too much of everything. Then the one who tries to lead in a highly charged situation but lacks any impact.
It all comes back to core communication skills and understanding that there is no formula to fit all. The next truly great leader is unlikely to be like any that we have seen before. So take some time to think about how your skills help you to influence?

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