Evolution of Leadership
From the likes of Heneral Luna and the late Queen Elizabeth II (may her majesty rest in peace) to your local Jollibee manager, our perception of leadership has evolved over time. In layman’s terms, or at least what was commonly defined then, leadership is basically “the ability to lead,” and a leader would mean “someone in power.” Now that we’re living in a revolutionized generation, the concept of leadership has expanded. We have acquired both liberty and independence and we develop our own style of leadership that resonates with our personality. But perhaps the real question is, “What does it mean to be a leader?”
Centuries ago, leaders were categorized into three: political, military, and religious. They were those we came to know as kings and queens of dynasties, military leaders who marshaled wars, and those who introduced religion and teachings, respectively. Fast forward to the 21st century, different kinds of leaders unfolded. It’s now time to answer the question of what it means to be a leader. Just take one look in the mirror and you have your answer. Every one of us has the potential to become leaders one day. Maybe some are natural leaders who were born with the skills it takes to be one, or others may have been given the chance to become a leader during their college years. Regardless of experience, leadership is a continuous learning process.
According to Eastwood (2019), key leadership characteristics can be developed and improved over time. He states that the 5 most important qualities of a leader are the following:
- They are self-aware and prioritize their development.
- They focus on developing others.
- They encourage strategic thinking, innovation, and action.
- They are ethical and civic-minded.
- They practice effective cross-cultural communication.
Above all, there is no secret formula to leadership. Though we identify different attributes and abilities that make a great leader, they vary from person to person. Some could be leaders in graphic design or performing arts. They can even be your friend who you reach out to for comfort. There are also leaders who are quiet but make an impact silently. You don’t have to step into the limelight to be recognized as a leader. You can be one hiding in the shadows. As long as you set a good example to those around you and use those qualities for a greater purpose, you’re a leader.