Leadership Exposed: Things You Thought You Knew About Leadership

Much has been written about leadership: rules, pointers, styles, and biographies of inspiring leaders throughout world history. But there are certain leadership ideas that we ourselves fail to recognize and realize in the course of reading books. Here is a short list of things you thought you knew about leadership.

1. Leaders come in different flavors.

There are different types of leaders and you will probably encounter more than one type in your lifetime. Formal leaders are those we elect into positions or offices such as the senators, congressmen, and presidents of the local clubs. Informal leaders or those we look up to by virtue of their wisdom and experience such as in the case of the elders of a tribe, or our grandparents; or by virtue of their expertise and contribution on a given field such as Albert Einstein in the field of Theoretical Physics and Leonardo da Vinci in the field of the Arts. Both formal and informal leaders practice a combination of leadership styles.
· Lewin’s three basic leadership styles – authoritative, participative, and delegative
· Likert’s four leadership styles – exploitive authoritative, benevolent authoritative, consultative, and participative
· Goleman’s six emotional leadership styles – visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and commanding.

2. Leadership is a process of becoming.

Although certain people seem to be born with innate leadership qualities, without the right environment and exposure, they may fail to develop their full potential. So like learning how to ride a bicycle, you can also learn how to become a leader and hone your leadership abilities. Knowledge on leadership theories and skills may be formally gained by enrolling in leadership seminars, workshops, and conferences. Daily interactions with people provide the opportunity to observe and practice leadership theories. Together, formal and informal learning will help you gain leadership attitudes, gain leadership insights, and thus furthering the cycle of learning. You do not become a leader in one day and just stop. Life-long learning is important in becoming a good leader for each day brings new experiences that put your knowledge, skills, and attitude to a test.

3. Leadership starts with you.

The best way to develop leadership qualities is to apply it to your own life. As an adage goes “action speaks louder than words.” Leaders are always in the limelight. Keep in mind that your credibility as a leader depends much on your actions: your interaction with your family, friends, and co-workers; your way of managing your personal and organizational responsibilities; and even the way you talk with the newspaper vendor across the street. Repeated actions become habits. Habits in turn form a person’s character. Steven Covey’s book entitled 7 Habits of Highly Effective People provides good insights on how you can achieve personal leadership.

4. Leadership is shared.

Leadership is not the sole responsibility of one person, but rather a shared responsibility among members of an emerging team. A leader belongs to a group. Each member has responsibilities to fulfill. Formal leadership positions are merely added responsibilities aside from their responsibilities as members of the team. Effective leadership requires members to do their share of work. Starting as a mere group of individuals, members and leaders work towards the formation of an effective team. In this light, social interaction plays a major role in leadership. To learn how to work together requires a great deal of trust between and among leaders and members of an emerging team. Trust is built upon actions and not merely on words. When mutual respect exists, trust is fostered and confidence is built.

5. Leadership styles depend on the situation.

How come dictatorship works for Singapore but not in the United States of America? Aside from culture, beliefs, value system, and form of government, the current situation of a nation also affects the leadership styles used by its formal leaders. There is no rule that only one style can be used. Most of the time, leaders employ a combination of leadership styles depending on the situation. In emergency situations such as periods of war and calamity, decision-making is a matter of life and death. Thus, a nation’s leader cannot afford to consult with all departments to arrive at crucial decisions. The case is of course different in times of peace and order—different sectors and other branches of government can freely interact and participate in governance. Another case in point is in leading organizations. When the staffs are highly motivated and competent, a combination of high delegative and moderate participative styles of leadership is most appropriate. But if the staffs have low competence and low commitment, a combination of high coaching, high supporting, and high directing behavior from organizational leaders is required.

Now that you are reminded of these things, keep in mind that there are always ideas that we think we already know; concepts we take for granted, but are actually the most useful insights on leadership.

Vitamin C….The Versatile Antioxidant Vitamin

Vitamin C as an antioxidant, helps reduce the activity of free radicals, by products of normal metabolism which nonetheless can damage cells and set the stage for aging, degeneration, and cancer. This article provides information on the many benefits of Vitamin C as an antioxidant.

Slice an apple into half, and it turns brown. A copper penny suddenly becomes green, or an iron nail when left outside, will rust. What do all these events have in common? These are examples of a process called oxidation. If the sliced apple is dipped in a lemon juice, however, the rate at which the apple turns brown is slowed. It is because the Vitamin C in the lemon juice slows the rate of oxidative damage.

Since its discovery 65 years ago, vitamin C has come to be known as a “wonder worker.” Because of its role in collagen formation and other life-sustaining functions, Vitamin C serves as a key immune system nutrient and a potent free-radical fighter. This double-duty nutrient has been shown to prevent many illnesses, from everyday ailments such as the common cold to devastating diseases such as cancer.

The water-soluble vitamin C is known in the scientific world as ascorbic acid, a term that actually means “without scurvy.” We depend on ascorbic acid for many aspects of our biochemical functioning; yet human beings are among only a handful of animal species that cannot produce their own supply of vitamin C. Like these other animals, including primates and guinea pigs, we have no choice but to obtain this nutrient through food or our daily diet.

Vitamin C can enhance the body’s resistance from different diseases, including infections and certain types of cancer. It strengthens and protects the immune system by stimulating the activity of antibodies and immune system cells such as phagocytes and neutrophils.

Vitamin C, as an antioxidant, helps reduce the activity of free radicals. Free radicals are by-products of normal metabolism which can damage cells and set the stage for aging, degeneration, and cancer. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that vitamin C is being used for cancer treatment. In large doses, Vitamin C is sometimes administered intravenously as part of cancer treatment.

Vitamin C prevents free radical damage in the lungs and may even help to protect the central nervous system from such damage. Free radicals are molecules with an unpaired electron. In this state, they’re highly reactive and destructive to everything that gets in their way. Although free radicals have been implicated in many diseases, they are actually a part of the body chemistry.

As an antioxidant, vitamin C’s primary role is to neutralize free radicals. Since ascorbic acid is water soluble, it can work both inside and outside the cells to combat free radical damage. Vitamin C is an excellent source of electrons; therefore, it “can donate electrons to free radicals such as hydroxyl and superoxide radicals and quench their reactivity.”

The versatile vitamin C also works along with glutathione peroxidase (a major free radical-fighting enzyme) to revitalize vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant. In addition to its work as a direct scavenger of free radicals in fluids, then, vitamin C also contributes to the antioxidant activity in the lipids.

Optimal health, however, requires a balance between free radical generation and antioxidant protection. One of the functions of Vitamin C is to get and quench these free radicals before they create too much damage.

However, there is research to show that vitamin C may act as a pro-oxidant. In other words, vitamin C, under certain conditions anyway, may act in a manner that is opposite to its intended purpose. This has raised concern among thousands of people who supplement their diets with vitamin C…but that’s another story.

Top 5 Qualities Of Successful Achievers

Are you living your life by design like successful achievers or by chance? Successful achievers are able to live the lives they want by design because they possess certain qualities that normal ac
But you’ll probably be asking exactly what are these qualities that successful achievers have?

Take a few minutes to ponder and understand the qualities that most successful achievers possess below so that you can emulate them.

1) Know their Strengths And Weaknesses

They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They basically know what they are really good at and can even reach legendary levels in it if they pursue it. They also know what they are not really good at or weak in, or what they can’t do to save their lives. They know that this is a truth, an understanding, not an intention, goal or a desire. They know the difference between what is truly their core strengths and what is actually only a passing hobby or interest.

A true strength is something in which you know with every fibre of your being that you can get better and better at it, seemingly without any possible limits to your growth, evolution and improvement, until perhaps death stops you.The successful achievers also know how to skilfully ‘pull strings’ whenever a situation requires an ability that they are not particularly good at, to seek out those who can do the job to do it for them either for money or for an equal exchange of favours.

2) Clearly Identify Truly Congruent Desires, Visions And Goals

They follow what they are deeply passionate about and they know what they truly, deeply and absolutely want to achieve. They have intricate visions and set realistic goals about what they to achieve. They stick by strong sets of positive values, principles, philosophies and ethics and they use them in their quest to make their desires, visions and goals a reality.

3) Create Discipline From Within

They create their own self-discipline from within, inspired or generated by a clear understanding of their deepest, most coherent desires and have the congruence to translate their inner desires to reality through the execution of proper methods and pathways. They adhere to a system that works; but allow room for flexibility and growth within that system. To them, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. They ignore and do not give time or energy to opportunities (even so-called “once in a lifetime” opportunities) that are not aligned with their innermost values and desires.

4) Fail In Order To Succeed

They acknowledge that to succeed as soon as possible, they need to fail as quickly as possible and as many times as possible while learning along the way from their failures. Of course, this does not mean that you should deliberately seek to fail in your path to be wealthy. The trick is to minimise your risk as much as possible with whatever knowledge and information you have right now

When you ‘fail’, fail with as little time and money ‘wasted’ as possible. When you do, you’ll learn what you need to know to increase your personal effectiveness and realise that your ‘failures’ had not been ‘failures’ at all but lessons learned and that your money and time had not been ‘wasted’ but they had been investments to learn how to succeed more effectively. This is the power of perspective.

5) Start With Small Building Blocks, Then Expand Till They Get To The Big Structure

Whenever they manage to attain some measure of success initially, no matter how trivial, small or insignificant they may seem, they always think about how they can expand that success. They do this by expanding in some way the specific tactic that they had executed in attaining the results yielded.

So now that you have understood the 5 top qualities of successful achievers, are you ready to become one?

By: Mohammad Shafie