It was our Fireside session again and the closing session to our series on Leadership for 2014. From observing the various leadership styles of Maximus, Commodus, Marcus Aurelius, Lucilla, and members of the Senate from the movie Gladiator, we discovered that we were drawn to leaders like Maximus who are honest and empathetic, who fight alongside their men and are clear about what they are doing. Some of us were also attracted to Lucilla’s leadership style—sharp, intelligent, skilled at manipulating behind the scenes to achieve her objectives and yet staying clear of danger.
Next, we asked ourselves who were the leaders who impacted us, and what they did or said that inspired us. For many it was a trip down memory lane as we recalled what a particular teacher or boss said or did that impressed upon us the best lessons about life, about being a great person, or how the qualities they exuded made them charismatic, confident, and disciplined.
We agreed that a leader should be able to bring out the best in each person and leverage on the individual strengths of team members, thereby empowering them and earning their trust, providing room for them to grow. Furthermore, a leader must also have the ability to attract the right type of followers which, in the context of business and the corporate world, refers to recruitment skills—as being able to pick the right team members would contribute to the team’s success, or failure. Many of us also appreciated leaders who could teach and impart skills and knowledge successfully.
That led us to discuss how involved a leader should be. Maximus led by his actions and skills, Commodus by dictating. We discussed how in the workplace, leaders who wouldn’t get down in the dirt with their subordinates when it was necessary had their ego in the way. Yet, leaders shouldn’t micromanage and should delegate, which involves being willing to take risks with people without compromising the final outcome.
Above all, we found that a leader listens to his inner voice, and requires courage and support to gain confidence and strength. And in today’s context, a modern leader draws a following with his ideas and is no longer bound by a company structure. He is someone who stands up and speaks up for the good of everyone. A leader is also responsible for what he started and completes whatever he started, as he needs to consider the impact of his decisions on his followers. He is a person who inspires and aligns with his team.
We thought about the leadership potential in everybody and noted that everyone is a leader in one aspect or another; that it is possible to draw inspiration from within us instead of depending on others for it; and consider the possibility of taking on leadership roles for brief periods of time. We acknowledged that there is more than one way to be a leader, and we could start by asking how we could work together, what we are fighting for, and what we rally around or what calls to us.
With that, we look forward to our next Dwelling series, Freedom. Join us again on Tuesday 9 September at 7.30pm!