Friday, February 13, 2015

Traits of Leadership over a Lifetime

Life has it stages and leadership skills move through those stages with the person. As people change and grow there will be different emphasis on leadership skills as challenges are mastered and new knowledge presented. Despite the changes of life there are some similarities across the stages that run the course throughout a lifetime (Nelson, Schroeder & Welpman, 2014). 

In the beginning of a leader’s life rudimentary skills form in the home and create a foundation for leadership. As life continues this framework is used as a place where new knowledge is learned, incorporated, and then utilized to achieve goals. The process of learning, challenging and developing continues throughout a person’s career. 

Leaders are unique creatures when compared to many other people. They are always seeking to develop and grow regardless of the circumstances they are in. Even though the stages of their life change they seem to hold consistent characteristics that continue to push them to higher levels of effectiveness. These traits are as follows: 

Learners: All leaders are learners. Leaders “consciously following a recursive cycle of experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting, they can increase their learning power” (Kolb & Kolb, 2009, p. 297).  They are people learn from reading and life experience to tone their skills to effective leadership strategies. The process of learning and developing never stops.

Encouraging: Leaders encourage others because it not only moves to higher performance but also encourages stronger interpersonal relationships. Positive demeanor and attitude lead to higher forms of subordinate motivation and performance.

Interpersonal Relationships: Leaders are effective at interrelating with others and building stronger social networks. The development of leadership helps in finding a way for people to connect with and build relationships. Leaders are generally social people who enjoy interacting with other people. They are capable of empathy and caring relationships.

Innovative: Leaders are innovative and think of new ways of doing things. This helps them develop strategies that actually come to new and unique results. They are not the type of people who follow the same path over and over and hope for a new result.

Self-Awareness: Leaders grow in their self-awareness that comes through their experience with themselves in different situations. As they gain knowledge and experience they grow and create higher levels of emotional intelligence.

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2009). The Learning Way: Meta-Cognitive Aspects of Experiential Learning.  Simulation & Gaming, 40(3), 297-327.

Nelson, E., Schroeder, M. & Welpman, L. (2014). Does career maturity impact leadership behavior? Journal of Leadership, Accountability & Ethics, 11 (3).

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