William Shakespeare wrote "some people are born great, some people achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them." No matter the situation in which you are called upon to lead, many different factors determine your potential success, as well as your suitability for the role. While some of these factors may be out of your control now that you are a leader, understanding others can help you become more effective.
Experience is one of the primary factors that affect leadership. Many individuals are selected for leadership positions because of past experiences that prepared them for the job. Although you may not have had experiences that directly correlate to the leadership position you want, you can make it seem that way. Leaders often need experience in making difficult decisions, thinking quickly, and motivating people. If you can show those in power that you've done those things, they may make you a leader.
At times, there is no substitute for the natural characteristics that every leader must have. Leaders should be highly motivated; halfhearted working styles simply won't do. Leaders also need to be forward thinking, always one step ahead of the competition, watching the future of their industry or company carefully. Finally, leaders must be practical. They should set their sights on achievable goals and work hard to succeed in them.
Economics plays a large part in who is selected as leader, when, or even how many leaders are chosen in total. For example, when economies are flush, more leadership positions at companies open up. This may be because the company is expanding, and needs leaders to head different offices or branches. It may also be because the company can afford the higher salaries and perks that go with such positions. When funds are scarce, however, leaders may find that their roles are scaled back -- or even eliminated.
Finally, support from those around them also affects who gets chosen as leader, as well as how well they perform in the role. Support from supervisors, or even being well-liked by co-workers, can get you promoted. Once in a leadership position, the support of these same people can help you "sink or swim": become overwhelmed by your new responsibilities or receive a great deal of help in handling them. It pays to be nice to your co-workers, you never know when you might need such individuals later.
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You; John C. Maxwell; 2007
A professional writer for LexisNexis since 2008, Ilana Waters has created pages for websites such as ComLawOne.com and AndersonHome.com. A writing scholarship helped her graduate summa cum laude from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Social Work. She then obtained her Master of Social Work from Monmouth University.