What Makes a Great Leader?

As many of you know I'm very active with the Charleston American Marketing Association. And many of you know that for the past 2 years I have been on the CAMA Board of Directors. My term as the Programming Director comes to an end this month and I, Ronii Bartles, will transition into the Presiden-Elect seat of the CAMA. What in the world did I get myself into? How am I going to lead a group of volunteers to be as passionate about marketing as I am? I don't think I know what I'm doing here?

In April the CAMA sent me to a leadership conference all about the AMA to help me with all these concerns and the self-doubt that I'm having. It was an amazing conference that made my head spin with so many great people and so much information about AMA and leadreship skills that I can use, not only with AMA, but in my business. I'm totally pumped and exhausted at the same time. My whirlwind trip to the conference really began the weekend before when I flew to San Francisco to visit a girlfriend from high school and drank Sonoma dry, only to come home for a few days, do a speaking gig, catch up on some work, attend Coco's wedding (on my brithday) and board a plane at 6am with a massive hangover the next morning. Did I mention there was a wedding on my birthday? Hence the hangover.

I get to Chicago after 3 hours of sleep and 9 asprins and our first session is at 9am with Kevin Eikenberry, who is the keynote speaker for the weekend. Kevin gave a fun and informative presentation on championing change. He then proceeded to make me famous for the weekend by drawing my name out of hat (not really a hat but close enough) and giving me his four books. That's right... four! I was known as the book girl the rest of the weekend. I guess that was my reward for actually paying attention with a massive hangover.

As Kevin talked about the differences in managing, leading and championing change, I couldn't help but wonder if people are born natural leaders or if these are skills that one can learn. I came to the conclusion in my sleep deprived haze that it is probably a little bit of both. There is a charisma to great leaders that makes you sit up and listen but there are also some skills that leaders must learn along the way. I'd like to think that I'm like my mother, which make me a natural born leader. But the reality is that I'm probably like any other person born with a little charisma that will help rally the troops. But there are just some things that I still need to learn.

I'm still scared to death about my upcoming term in a leadership role for the CAMA. Particularly since I know that come the following year I'm going to be the head honcho. Eeek!

I need help. What are some of you leadership tips? How do you lead those in your business and organizations?

Earning a masters in organizational leadership can help most individuals succeed in their professional life by becoming great leaders.