The Essence of Leadership

Leadership is fascinating and history has given us many extraordinary examples of this fantastic “adventure” which is the path to being a leader.

Over the years, in various eras, different characteristics have been identified, because the leaders were human beings and, as such, different, and partly because the researchers at various times were focused on different characteristics or behaviors .

What is certain is that all organizations need leadership to strengthen identity, improve culture, create a sense of belonging, make people proud and satisfied with their work, especially when they are called to confront tumultuous and pressing changes or when people have to operate under stressful conditions and the future looks uncertain and threatening.

We must, in fact, be aware that the world is changing continuously, and even rapidly: the old paradigms are being questioned and there is not always the certainty of which will be the new ones. And often someone is too slow in responding to change.

Every moment uncertainty, challenges are faced, but opportunities are also generated.

Anyone can become a leader. Each in his own way, with his own style and personality. Obviously one has to train and grow to be one. I know of no examples of leaders who have done nothing to sacrifice and improve themselves.

Becoming a leader is in fact a path of obstacles: weaknesses, fears, defeats are factors that discourage even the most willing. Ambitions break against too high walls. The risks cloud the desires. This makes us understand that, probably, we must also adopt a method to reach leadership, otherwise in addition to the effort and lost time, we risk never to see the top. And, in fact, many do not manage to be leaders simply because they do not know the necessary path and the difficulties it imposes.

Often all is known about what leaders do and how they do it, but nothing is known about that inner space or state of awareness through which leaders operate. Because, in reality, it is necessary to get involved on a more personal level and this is a step that is not always aware and clear for those in leadership roles.

The leader is a person who has the courage to create a reality that others want to belong to, and in doing so he can influence positively.

To “understand” leadership you need to know its essence and, I believe, this is perceived by the choices a leader makes.

  • One can be a communication master but if there is a lack of sincerity, nobody can have healthy relationships with their own team.
  • One can know NLP deeply but if you don’t have integrity, you won’t get very far.
  • One can be smart and cultured, but if one is fickle and doesn’t stick to what he/she says, no one will follow him/her.

To develop leadership, we need to work on ourselves. Only through self-analysis and the desire to make oneself a “tool” to be used better and better, is it possible to strengthen one’s leadership and bring it effectively into one’s world of work.

The road to leadership is, therefore, first of all, a path, a journey through one’s inner world, the center of one’s conscious and unconscious resources, known and unknown. It is the meeting with one’s own mental structures and resources that allows you to expand your awareness, increase flexibility, creativity, and therefore the ability to choose with greater awareness. The ability to observe oneself “from above”, recognize and manage one’s emotions and feelings, and process them to experience the present and look to the future with clarity and awareness. Emotions play a fundamental role: it is necessary to know how to manage them intelligently, in order to empathize and motivate others.

It is the awareness of oneself, or the set of actions that leads to defining and welcoming one’s truest and deepest nature, that allows one to see clearly one’s real needs and to establish the objectives that one really wants to achieve. This process also implies the realization and acceptance of one’s limits and talents, which allows you to develop self-confidence and motivation.

Learning to evoke one’s own internal competence and wisdom is fundamental in making decisions; discovering how important it is to create bonds is a source of security; to have dreams to pursue, to take responsibility for one’s life fully, to know how to see things in a new way, amplifies and expands the spaces of choice.

Regaining, refining, and developing the ability to clearly evaluate specific situations, decide how to deal with them in an increasingly effective and competent way, represents a precious possibility, greater energy to lead the team towards the set objectives.

What a leader says has weight, but what he does has enormous weight and impact! When he makes a mistake, he doesn’t even have to apologize if he is able to openly put into practice the teaching he received from the mistake. And if he finds the courage and apologizes, it is even more effective. If he can show through example how to act to overcome a debacle, a defeat, or a rejection, he will have really shown what the essence of leadership is.

In conclusion, summarizing and simplifying a lot, it can be said that the real main task of every “Leader” is to “fulfill himself”, developing his own resources, learning how and when to use them with respect for himself and for others, thus promoting growth his and those around him.

If one invests in the development of one’s inner resources the result will inevitably grow over time.


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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