A very simple definition of leadership:
• Recognising opportunities and chances;
• Inspiring people and moving them to work on a vision; and
• Maintaining the focused energy of everyone involved in the effort.
The core of leadership is simple. A child that convinces its friends to play a particular game is evincing leadership qualities. A great example of this is Tom Sawyer and the white fence on a Saturday.
According to a meta-study, there are six essential abilities that set ‘high potentials’ apart from their average colleagues:
• High commitment and high performance standards
• The ability to influence others
• Conceptual thinking
• Analytical skills
• Readiness to take on challenges
From a psychological and learning theory perspective, points 2, 3, 5 and 6 are relatively easy to acquire, although the work on self-confidence requires in particular time to integrate. High commitment and analytical skills are difficult to learn in direct ways.
However, if people can clarify for themselves what is truly important and can develop a personal vision, then they can develop the necessary passion and intrinsic motivation required for developing these skills on the path to becoming a leader.