What it takes to be a leader

Are you a leader?
Are you a leader?









I got picked to be Captain. Wait, but I’m not a good runner and I never win during sports day, so why did they pick me? That was the question I had in my mind when I was in year 6. What made the teacher pick me as captain of the yellow team? Why me? I really was a slow runner and sack race was my worst nightmare. Don’t get me wrong I like sports, just not the ones that did not involve chasing a ball like football or basketball. I knew my capabilities and what I was good at but I didn’t know what my teacher knew. Of course me being me, I asked the teacher because I needed to know. Her answer just left me even more confused. Only several years later did I understand what she meant but at the age of 11, I did not get it when she said “you have what it takes”.

She was right!! Being captain is about leading a team. The responsibility was not to personally win a race but more of ensuring the entire team achieves the best results. The captain was responsible for motivating the team, choosing who gets to run during the relay race i.e. resourcing and standing in front of everyone to accept the victory or defeat of the team. It was about ownership and character. That’s why she picked me. It was not because I can run the best but because I can motivate the best runner to run even harder. That teacher knew the traits of a leader and I think she taught me well.

To have what it takes to be a leader, you must:
1. Put yourself in your team’s shoes.
2. Empathize.
3. Take ownership but give credit.
4. Motivate and encourage potential.
5. Believe in yourself and in your team.

And so with this in mind I leave you with a simple question, do you have what it takes?

Layla Alqassab
Co-active Coach (in training)

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