Many of us are called to be leaders, but we really don’t know how to live out the role. The most confusing part is how to gain the position in the first place. My observations find that women in particular become leaders in four different ways:
1. The Draftee – this is a fantastic, gregarious leader who chooses not to lead…until someone pushes her into the job. Once she steps up, she is terrific – however, that first push usually means that she will need further pushes to take the risk needed to grow herself and others.
2. The Waiter – this leader takes the actor path. She knows she is capable, sees herself as a leader, but is waiting to be invited. Once she has the part, she will perform well, but when time for transition comes, she will need to be discovered all over again.
3. The Activist – this leader doesn’t wait for anyone. She strikes out on her own, and expects that eventually, someone will follow. Her focus is her cause, and she doesn’t understand when people don’t share her passion.
4. The Player – this leader works on a team. She found a good coach and quality team mates, and then asked to be on the team. Her focus isn’t really on her performance, it is on the team’s performance. This type of leader is improved by those around her, and she will be developed by her team and not tend to progress beyond those around her.
Interestingly, these four leadership approaches seem to connect well with the four temperaments. Regardless of where you find yourself, there is something you can do to help open the doors to leadership.
Focus on the soft skills. Take every opportunity you have and learn. Learn about self management, time management, and people management. Delve deeply into the world of communication and learn how to get your point across with grace and poise (always a goal of mine). Then, whether you are called to lead the PTA, asked to lead an organization, hit by a cause that must be fixed, or offered the perfect spot on the team, you will be ready.