Colin Powell when asked about the “Essence of Leadership” stated that advice from his sergeant at infantry school was very powerful and had a great impact on him – “Lieutenant, you will know when you are a great leader when people follow you if only out of curiosity”.
Indeed, leaders seem to draw people to them as there is a sense of intrigue, anticipation and hope and being part of something larger than themselves.
Leaders inspire others to follow them as they have a strong sense of what lies ahead and imagine futures that are brighter, and something worth striving for as they are able to articulate a vision so clear and simple that people can feel the road-map ahead, even though the challenges may seem insurmountable.
Roselinde Torres in her research on “What it takes to be a great Leader” found that “Great leaders are not head down: they see around corners shaping their future not just reacting to it”. This characteristic of leaders is one that is nurtured over years of development and self-reflection, of looking at possible futures and using their intuition that is the accumulation of what they have read, seen, assimilated and reflected upon. They use their head, heart and gut to see around corners and have the courage to do something about their beliefs.
Collins in “Good to Great” found that great leaders have courage and humility and the steely determination to follow through on their intuition despite potential ramifications on their lives. They believe and follow through: action follows thought.
All this comes with a potent combination of Emotional Intelligence, empathy, trust, authenticity and energy.
Leaders have great intrigue, intuition and imagination and attract people to them.
The world is a better place because leaders dare to dream, and dream big, but importantly take action to ensure that they give hope to all.