I get asked this question a lot, including just the other day: "What is your secret to leadership?"
The answer may be disappointing. There is no secret, reports Forbes. The problem is that people often see leadership as some aspirational thing that anyone can do. They see it as simply a rite of passage, but once you get there, the grass isn't always so green. In fact, many struggle, give up or lose themselves once they find themselves in a leadership position.
In great organizations, "up" is not the only way. The career path zig-zags or moves sideways. In most organizations, however, the only way up actually is up, and that is why we read so many leadership horror stories.
There are plenty of of books on leadership, but there is no one recipe. Each organization has different ingredients to work with, and you cannot use the same recipe with different ingredients. It just doesn't work. So stop looking for the singular secret to leadership, because you will not find what you are looking for. Seek, instead, to get to know people. I mean really get to know them, and by people, I mean yourself too. Then, figure out how to work with others by relating to them.
Leadership is about being nimble, communicative, curious, collaborative, courageous, confident and decisive. Obviously, there is more to it than simply these characteristics, but the idea is that it is not a secret. The essence of leadership is in being able to work appropriately with people at all levels and of all types, and to be able to flex your style depending on the situation, the people, the environment, the organization and any other factors.
It is also important to note that leadership needs to happen from where you are before it can happen from where you want to be. Leadership is not a job title. It is truly how you live or lead your life, the reason why you live it in a particular way and your ability to serve others along the way.
There really is no one secret to leadership, yet myths about secrets to leadership persist. Myths such as:Leaders are extroverted. Actually, some of the strongest leaders I've known or seen are very introverted or they are ambiverts, which is great for flexibility. Extroverted leaders can be great too, but extroversion is not the characteristic that defines a leader. You have to pay your dues to be a leader. Leadership is not about how long you have been at a company, how many years of experience you have or how many degrees you're able to mention on your resume. There are plenty of young people leading change in the world. We tend to think of those situations as surprising and unique, but it's just leadership. Leaders know everything. Quite the contrary. Strong leaders have no problem admitting when they are wrong or when they do not know something. They ask questions and find ways to get to the end result. They never pretend to know it all.
So, the secret is out: The singular leadership secret does not exist. Now, go and learn about yourself and others and how you can lead best and impact the world positively.