How to Become a Leader

How do we become a leader? The question assumes, perhaps, that ‘leadership’ is intransitive, that is, it assumes that leadership is an abstract property or quality. However, to lead, one must have followers, something to lead. How, then, can we go about becoming a leader? In this brief essay I will discuss how to become a leader, by talking about what it means to leader.

The first thing that a leader needs is an idea, or a philosophy, that can be shared, or applied to a group of people. For example, Jesus was a leader of men, because he had various ideas about how to live, and how to treat other people. Ghandi, too, was a leader, by virtue of a strong conviction to an idea, a belief, which he wanted to spread to make a change in an aspect of the world. So, to lead, one must know where one wants to lead people.

To lead means to take a group from one position to another. In business, leadership means taking a team by the hand through a process of change, or for the completion of a task. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to communicate effectively, and to maintain strength under pressure.

The single most important aspect of leadership is followers. How can one lead without followers? So, whether it is in work, in religion, in fashion, to become a leader on must put oneself in a position where the idea and philosophy that we want to spread can be appreciated by others. Usually, this requires charisma, an element of enigma, of mystery, because people tend to follow people whom they admire, and admiration often comes from an inability to fully understand. So, to lead, find those who will follow, and make sure that they see what it is that you want them to see, so that they know where they are being led.

Being a leader is not, as I have argued, an abstract capability; being a leader is about taking a group into your philosophy, getting them to follow you, and leading them in the direction that you have chosen. So if you want to lead, then these are all of the elements that are essential.