No one ever asked me to lead a team. No one ever taught me how to lead a team. And that’s fine, because someone not telling me what to do, was never an issue for me. I always do what I believe in. I don’t need someone to tell me to lead a team. If I feel I’m in a position to do so, I will. I led teams – sometimes I was aware of it and sometimes it was not that obvious. For me, being a leader does not mean wearing the „boss“ label.
I think the soccer star Pelé (2014) explains it in a very logical and humble way when reporters connected his leadership skills to being the captain of the team:
“Listen, I don’t need to be captain. If we have another player as captain, then there are two leaders in the game.”
Pelé didn’t need the label of the captain to lead his team. Neither do I – because if I would, I would have never led a team up to this day. I would not have led collaborative creative projects, neither my volleyball team nor my side projects. I think this is one of the reasons why I support flat hierarchies.
I am wondering is there such a thing as a natural leader? If yes, how?
Alison Coward founded Bracket to support people that work in creative teams to collaborate better. She taught us that creative collaboration is a skill, which means it can be learned and refined. If that counts for collaboration I guess the same counts for leadership. The ability to lead is a skill which needs the combination of many key skills. Emotional intelligence is the main ability. It is more essential than technical skills and intelligence to set great leaders apart. Even though there is a strong genetic aspect to emotional intelligence it can be learned. Self-awareness is part of the emotional intelligence package.
„Leaders who see themselves clearly also see their companies clearly.“
(Harvard Business Review, 2016)
Harvard Business Review (2016). What makes a leader. Available at:
https://hbr.org/video/5236216251001/what-makes-a-leader (Accessed: 19 April 2017).
Beard, A. (2014). Life’s Work: An Interview with Pelé. Available at: https://hbr.org/2014/07/pele (Accessed: 19 April 2017).