• 21Nov

    Do you have to be born to be a leader?

    For a very long time, leaders were considered to be gifted beings with superhuman powers. Some time ago there was even a theory that you can not teach anyone to become a leader, but someone needs to be born with special characteristics that made him charismatic and influential. History gives many examples, from famous generals such as Alexander the Great and Napoleon, through peacemakers such as Mahatma Gandhi to the visionaries from the world of business such as Henry Ford, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs. They all have something in common – universal ability to create a vision and to motivate other people to work to realize it.

    Business organizations and leadership

    In business organizations, there are three main categories of characteristics of effective leaders: physical attributes, abilities, and personality. Physical attributes and appearance, in fact, may influence others’ behavior (and not only when you are a model ;)). People showing knowledge, speech influence, intelligence, or work attributes also tend to be better leaders. It is not important whether their work abilities or physical attributes are matching people’s real interests. A few years ago, management theoretics tried to identify a set of universal characteristics of a successful leader, and they made a short list of character traits: persistence, energy, self-confidence, instinct for achievement, ability to influence others, and originality.

    Charismatic leadership

    There is a well-known term in leadership theory called “charismatic leadership”. Charismatic leaders have charisma, which means God’s gift and energy needed to encourage others to follow their ideas.  These leaders know where the organization is currently, where it could be and how to get there, so they create a vision, inspiring all the people in organization to follow them. By sharing a common vision, employees become motivated, they tend to act more as a team, and the network in the organization is perfectly integrated. Some researchers showed that the most noticeable characteristics of charismatic leaders are: direct eye contact, relaxed body, and lively expression. Thus, we can conclude that charismatic people have perfect body language, which is a very important part of conversation.

    Unilever  history

    Born leader

    Leaders know where the organization is currently, where it could be and how to get there

    Antony Burgmans, the president of the company Unilever, says that the most important thing for its organization was the vision that all people share in the company. He said that all strategic aspects of the company were good with new organizational structure. Finances of the company were also in good condition, and the company had the support of all shareholders. Although it seemed perfect, Burgmans said that something was missing and that was a new culture in the organization and a new way of thinking What was the most important was a competent leader that would bring those new values to the organization. Niall Fitzgerald, the co-president of Unilever said: “we knew where we were going and we had all we needed to get there, but the problem was that it seemed like our organization was standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Someone was needed to inspire the people to build the bridge that will bring us to the other side”.

    The best thing in modern leadership theory is the fact that leaders don’t have to be born with characteristics, and the characteristics are not predetermined. All the characteristics, even those of charismatic leadership that were considered as God’s gift, today can be learned by special methods. The most important thing for a person that has ambition to become a leader is to increase emotional intelligence. Unlike the fluid, cognitive intelligence, the emotional intelligence could be increased. If we are emotionally intelligent enough to become leaders, we are able to manage ourselves and others in the group.

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