They stand out in a crowd. They appear to be the brightest star in the sky. People admire them. Their judgement is unquestioned, and they get results. And for all their positive attributes the most impressive is peoples’ unflinching confidence to follow their lead without questions.
So, is there some super power hardwired into people who show a natural ability for leadership?
Yes, without a doubt, says Steve Yacovelli a leadership consultant, owner and principal of TopDog Learning Group in Orlando. But this doesn’t mean that mere mortals can’t hone their own skills to become successful leaders, he says, they just need to worker harder at it.
Yacovelli equates leadership with an affinity for athletics. “Some people just have it naturally,” he says. “They ooze leadership awesomeness and people say ‘I trust you. I want to follow you.’
“I think everyone can be a leader,” he adds. “But some people may have to work harder on it than others.”
Leadership is about being authentic, which Yacovelli says is a key competency in successful leaders. With some people this trait is second nature and they’re just more open, authentic and themselves around others.
“With some people it comes naturally,” he says. “Other have to work really hard at it. But over time -- just like with any competency or muscle – once you do it enough times it becomes second nature.”
While there are books, courses and other resources – both free and for a fee – available to jump-start your leadership training, Yacovelli cautions to take a simpler approach and limit your skill development. In fact, he recommends to start out developing the competencies other leaders within your organization excel at.
“For example, not everyone is a great communicator,” he says. “Focus there first and find out what it is those folks around you who are really good at [communication] are they doing right?”
In the end, “It’s that desire to change that is the No. 1 factor [in successfully developing into a leader],” Yacovelli says.
Mike Zawacki is Editor of Snow Magazine. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.