What Does it Mean to Be a Good Leader?

Good Leaders Are Made, Not Born

Historically, a leader was someone who presided from on-high and dispensed wisdom, reward, and discipline.

The leader was the person in command or control.

The leader issued orders, and made sure they were followed.

The leader maintained a healthy distance from the people doing the work that needed to be done.

Yet as communities, workplaces, and schools have evolved, so too has the definition of what it means to be a good leader.

The Modern Conception of What It Means to Be a Good Leader

Today, a more common definition of what it means to be a good leader would still include the person who leads the group or organization. Yet the answer to the question “What does it mean to be a good leader?” now includes motivating, inspiring, and guiding others towards the group’s or organization’s goals.

Leaders of today must be able to identify and develop talent within a group or organization. They must help create a healthy group dynamic that allows individuals to apply their unique talents and skills in pursuit of key objectives. And they must be able to help a group identify an objective, then leverage the unique talents of each team-member to find the best way to get there.

To be successful, a leader must help create a vision, then motivate and inspire others to achieve that vision.

To Be a Good Leader Means Creating a Vision that People Want to Follow

The leader is typically the one with the vision – the idealized state that provides context for an organization or department.

Often, the leader helped create the vision. Regardless, the leader is the steward of the vision, and serves as its guardian.

To motivate others to achieve the vision, a good leader must create a culture that inspires others to achieve their full potential. This requires that the leader understand each individual’s motivation.

The modern leader must motivate and inspire followers, for without followers, there is no leader.

Today’s leader motivates and inspires others not by issuing directives that must be followed, but by modeling behavior and leading by example.

The leader helps the team by setting goals, offering coaching and feedback, and by providing on-going support.

You Can Learn to Be a Good Leader

Great leaders are made, not born. Becoming a great leader takes time and experience, and can only be achieved by making mistakes.

At the Cleveland Zephyr Outdoor Academy, we help people become great leaders by managing risk while allowing people to make mistakes. We meet you wherever you are on your path towards becoming a great leader, and create experiences that will allow your leadership skills to grow.

Leadership moves in concentric circles – basic leadership functions are at the center, while more complex leadership functions and the more challenging roles of senior leadership and organizational strategy are at the outer rings.

Of course, leadership means more than simply being able to lead a group on a hike. Leadership skills transfer across all disciplines, as people with strong leadership skills are needed in their workplaces, at their school, and in their community.

If you want to learn to be a good leader, or if your group, organization, business, or community could benefit from leadership training, contact the Cleveland Zephyr Outdoor Academy today. Explore our website, email nate.wills@clevelandzephyr.com, or sign up for one of our classes.

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