There are different views of leadership. Some people, including myself, have always thought that certain traits are what make someone an effective leader. Certain traits are associated with leading. These include characteristics such as height, intelligence, extraversion and fluency (Northouse, 2013). Hence the well-known phrase, "he's a born leader."
What about process as a definition of leadership? Instead of possessing certain traits often linked with leading, can leadership be taught? If the answer to this is yes, then can anyone become an effective leader? The process viewpoint concerns the interactions between leaders and followers and promotes the idea that leadership behaviors can be learned (Northouse, 2013). Believing in the "process" definition will show that we can all be leaders!
There is no one perfect leadership style either, which means there is more than one way to lead effectively. Why is this good news? Because it means YOU can become a highly effective leader. Regardless of your past experiences, whatever your previous success or failure as a leader, you can become a self-assured, highly-effective leader of others. And it doesn't require that you become someone else or "play a role" to do it either, because there is no perfect leadership style. The important thing is to find a leadership style that matches you and your strengths and weaknesses, values and beliefs, personality and tendencies.
There are certain strategies that help someone lead effectively (PSU WC, L 1.). Consider your values. The best leaders lead from their most deeply held values. Leading from your values means that your behaviors, choices and actions will be guided by those values. All of this is a foundation of your personal leadership style. Know your personality traits. Your natural style will grow from your personality traits - how you are wired. Introverts can be leaders, as well as extroverts. Action oriented people can lead, as can disciplined planners and researchers. These natural tendencies are an important foundation for your style. Validate strengths and recognize weaknesses. Take your personality preferences and tendencies and combine that with past experiences and learning and you are moving towards your strengths and weaknesses. Collectively they help inform your style. Learn from, don't emulate. Look to leaders you admire. There is much you can learn by observing others. Get feedback. Once you have a style in mind and know what you want to achieve, get feedback. Don't just ask people, general things like "how am I doing as a leader?" ask questions about those specifics, to learn how you are doing, and how you can improve. Give yourself time. Be patient with yourself and listen to your intuition as well. Keep learning. Just because you are leading from who you are doesn't give you an excuse to stop learning, or allow you to deny your weaknesses. The best leaders are always learning - they are strengthening their strengths and improving upon their weaknesses too. Their constant learning focus is perhaps the biggest similarity between successful leaders across any particular style.
Based on the process definition, anyone can become a leader. The key is to developing and finding your own style. The following link will take you to a good example of how you can learn to lead.... http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2012/07/30/its-not-the-ceo-its-the-leadership-strategy-that-matters/
Bersin, J. (2012, July 30). Forbes. Retrieved January 18, 2013, from It's Not the CEO It's the Leadership Strategy that Matters: http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2012/07/30/its-not-the-ceo-its-the-leadership-strategy-that-matters/
Introduction to Leadership. (2011). Retrieved January 17, 2013, from Pennsylvania state University World Campus: https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/PSYCH485/Lesson01
Northouse, P. (2013). Leadership Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.