Being a Leader Worth Following

Being a Leader Worth Following
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his I Have a Dream Speech at the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. In today’s highly stressful economic climate, isn’t this a highly relevant statement made by Martin Luther King jnr?
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Recently a close friend was retrenched from her job after many years of loyal service. Part of the reason for the demise of the business was possibly the economic climate but largely it can be attributed to leadership. True leaders are often hard to find but when you do come across that special person who is able to get a team to follow them not because they have to but because they want to; look carefully at that person’s qualities.
What distinguishes them from other leaders, what makes you want to follow them and what is it about them that inspires you? When I said to one of my colleagues that these people have the x-factor, she cautioned me about using that term as it made it sound like it was an unattainable quality but you know what – that something special that certain people have, can be attainable to you as it involves growing and developing your emotional intelligence. I have personally witnessed people transform in their leadership styles by becoming more in tune with their teams and really acknowledging their emotions.
Despite the fear that some people may think that this may make them “weak”, Leaders who use their own feelings effectively create “the right” emotional climate because their feelings help set the organizational culture and influence the feelings of those who follow. Their authenticity and genuine caring and honesty also creates a climate of trust which is pivotal to the success of any team or organization.
Everyone is a leader in some form, be it in the work place, home, sports arena etc so ask yourself, are you being the leader that you would want to follow? If not, remember the Harvard Business Review’s first rule of Leadership; “Know thyself!”
Leaders who use their own feelings effectively create “the right” emotional climate because their feelings shape the feelings of those who follow.
Joshua Freedman,the Chief Operating Officer of Six Seconds has written numerous articles on Leadership that are really worth reading, Six Seconds Global.