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 The Art of Leadership
 By: Zeyad M. El Bassel
Leadership is an art that you develop and invent yourself. It is the very heart of - and soul of - getting to where you want, knowing how and when you will get there. The respect of others and fundamental thought process form the base of leadership. Real leadership is a gift given to you by others; it has to be earned. People have to like you in a way to grant it you on the foundation of trust and respect. This
means that you have to like them, and understand their needs and dreams first to earn leadership.Depending on what the leader does and the type of challenge he/she confronts, a leader can be categorized as one of the following three types:

1. Idea leader, with a personal dream or project agenda, he/she uses strong drive and tremendous focus to reach the goal.
2. People leader, putting the trust in other people, he/she has the skill to get things done, to guide and direct the effort, and to find the right personnel.
3. System leader, putting trust in the system, he/she sets up communication and operation systems needed for long term growth.

The best teacher for leadership is experience, supported by fundamental principles. Although leadership can’t be taught, it can be learned – to an extent- through education and experience. However, only gifted, talented persons can put these together and develop to be a real leader. An effective leader must have the following qualities:
1. a vision of what to do, a set aim and direction.
2. a sense of time, speed and how to use them to see the future.
3. care for people (the followers), their needs and dreams.
4. courage, to be not afraid of failure, but of course not wanting to fail.
5. a profound understanding of history and an ability to use that to achieve the vision.
6. a valid system and structure to get things done.
7. an ability to see what is coming; to be able to deal effectively with it.
8. an authenticity that forms the base trust system supporting his/her leadership.
9. a spirit and a will to spend the extra effort (mostly needed) to achieve success.

Collin Powell is a vivid example of a famous successful leader, let’s share his expertise and see how leadership is an art that only talented people can develop. Mr. Powell as a Chairman (Ret), Joint Chiefs of Staff determined 18 lessons a leader needs to learn:

1. ‘Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off”.
2. “The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems, is the day you have stopped leading them”.
3. “Don't be buffaloed by experts and elites”.
4. “Don't be afraid to challenge the pros, even in their own backyard”.
5. "Never neglect details. When everyone's mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant”.
6. "You don't know what you can get away with until you try”.
7. "Keep looking below surface appearances. Don't shrink from doing so just because you might not like what you find”.
8. "Organization doesn't really accomplish anything. Plans don't accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don't much matter Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds."
9. "Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to nothing."
10. "Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it."
11. "Fit no stereotypes. Don't chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team's mission."
12. "Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier."
13. "Powell's Rules for Picking People:” Look for intelligence and judgment, and most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. You can train a bright, willing novice in the fundamentals of your business fairly readily, but it's a lot harder to train someone to have integrity, judgment, energy, balance, and the drive to get things done.
14. "Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand." Effective leaders understand the KISS principle, Keep It Simple, Stupid.
15. Part I: "Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired.” Part II: "Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut."
16. "The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise." Shift the power and the financial accountability to the folks who are bringing in the beans, not the ones who are counting them.
17. "Have fun in your command. Don't always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you've earned it: Spend time with your families. Corollary: surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard."
18. "Command is lonely." Harry Truman was right. Whether you're a CEO or the temporary head of a project team, the buck stops here. Prepare to be lonely.

But the question remains - what really are the elements of great leadership? Famous leaders throughout the history provided mines of ideas and lessons to learn, ideologies and attitudes to think about and unique examples to pursue.

Prophet Mohammad was offered all what a man would dream about to let go of the “new religion”, he said “if they put the sun on my right and the moon on my left to let go of this matter, I won’t, even if I will die for it”. SALA ALLAH ALAYEH WA SALAM

Sir Winston Churchill said “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

President Anwar El Sadat describes his thinking process just before making his historical visit to Israel in November 1977; says “I found that what I have learned in cell no#54 in MISR Jail supplies me with a new force and huge energy to change. I am facing a very complicated reality that needs psychological energies first and intellectual energies secondly to change it. And I have learned that who can’t change his thoughts first, can’t make any change in reality. Progress is impossible without change.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’. Strength to Love, 1963

Mahatma Gandhi said “It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err”.

Quotations, decisions, actions and life stories of great leaders offer a lot to examine. Studies, books and articles have also explored the subject and concluded there are five main strategic elements for great leadership. These are Vision, Reality, Authenticity, Ethics and Courage.

The talent and education, the creative mind and practice, the ability to see the future and what’s around the corner, knowing the end, the insight and understanding of surrounding elements, factors and people, the genuine personal qualities and objective guidance, the dare and the free will; all these elements breed great leadership. In another word, leadership is an ART that only talented, experienced, knowledgeable, and innovative people with vision, reality, authenticity, ethics and courage can EARN.

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