Some people are born leaders while others grow into leadership roles. There is a lot of gray area between and among these two leadership categories. I will use two proven leaders to explain both—Steve Jobs and Abraham Lincoln.
Steve Jobs falls into the first bucket. At the age of 12, Jobs cold called Bill Hewlett, the CEO of HP, to request some electronic parts. Hewlett was so impressed by the young Steve Jobs that he gave him the parts and offered him a summer job. Jobs continued to develop his innate leadership traits until he was leading a company of tens of thousands of employees with vision and passion.
Abraham Lincoln may have been born with some leadership traits, but his leadership skills grew significantly during his presidency. He led the United States of America through the country’s most difficult time in history, the Civil War, with vision and passion. For his leadership, Lincoln paid the ultimate price only five days after the surrender of the South’s highest ranking general, Robert E. Lee.
Both leaders, Jobs and Lincoln, had strong character traits that contributed to their leadership success. However, they had very different leadership styles and led their teams through vastly different circumstances. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, but they usually share some common traits. The following traits can help your fraud fighting team leader:
- A vision to see beyond the status quo. Most leaders can visualize the future and anticipate what may happen next, but to do this effectively, the leader must know how to build a path between today and the future.
- Creating buy-in from others within the organization is necessary to grow beyond the leader’s vision. This requires effective communication skills and the ability to persuade others. This comes from breaking the path you are building into manageable tasks that are achievable.
- A passion to persevere is a critical trait because there will be plenty of hurdles to clear and mountains to climb. Success is achieved through hard work and dedication. It isn’t for the faint of heart.
- The willingness to sacrifice is a necessary part of successful leadership. Sacrifice can come in many forms. Jobs was essentially “fired” from Apple for pushing too hard after losing his leadership position over the Macintosh team, and Lincoln made numerous decisions to put people’s lives at risk to end slavery in the United States. Effective leaders must always be willing to make sacrifices.
There is a great TED Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth where she describes these leadership qualities in more detail, but in a word, she defines them as grit. When you are seeking a leader for your organization’s fraud fighting team, be sure they have grit!
For weekly insights on fighting financial fraud, click here: