Leadership And You
You Have To Be The Person That YOU Would Want To Follow
I know, that phrase can either be a slap in the face or a feeling of achievement. Either way, leadership is a never-ending process of personal development. How many of you out there are a leader? I want you to do something, its ok, no one can hear you reading this. I want you to turn around and see who is following you.... Are you leading the type of people that you want in your organization or are you a legend in your own mind?
Ask yourself. Would I follow me if I was approached to be led by myself?
If your goal is to be successful in business, or to lead in any organization, you must develop leadership skills. If you notice, I said skills, and fortunately, skills can be learned. Granted some people are born with more innate leadership ability than others, but I would like to share with you some leadership principles that you can take with you.
What the heck is this gibberish? To me this boils down to having the upmost integrity. Doing the right thing even when no one is looking or will find out.
D.W.Y.S.Y.D.: Do What You Say You'll Do!
This one can be tough, but that's part of being a leader. With more responsibilty comes less freedom. You have to keep your commitments, remember, they are commitments, not fly by remarks, so simply be committed.
When you tell someone that you will do something, do it. One positive action leads to another positve action. On the flip side, one neglect leads to another neglect. As you go through the process of becoming the leader that you would follow yourself, it will become easier to stick to your commitments.
Leaders Are Readers
The fact that you are reading this hub identifies you as a reader. An all important characteristic of a leader. With reading, you are able to leverage other people's experience instead of just relying on your own. Develop an ongoing library of books, autobiographies of past leaders, business development, leadership, communication.
Reading does something that the spoken word doesn't always get to do. When you read something,your subconcious takes part ownership of it. There is beauty in that, it may be years later when you recall something that you read. Or even more astonishing, it may be years later, and you will have an a-ha experience about something that you read in the past, finally getting it to click.
If large volumes of books scare you, realize that you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. There are many ways to fit reading into your schedule. Set aside 10-15 minutes a day and read. Some days that will be all that you will be able to do, others you may go on a marathon.
Reading can bring you powerful insight into your personal development. Some great authors and books that I would recommend to accompany you on your journey are:
- John C. Maxwell-- 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
- Dale Carnegie-- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Donald T Phillips-- Lincoln on Leadership
You'll Have To Give Up To Go Up
What are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals?
As I mentioned before, with more responsbilty, comes less freedom. Let me explain this in more detail. When you are just starting out, or more of a follower, your actions have a lesser impact on the outcome of your organization. You have yet do develop into the person that can be impactful to the cause that you are behind. So if you skip out on a event, don't follow up on a contact, or blow off some details, the only person that you are hurting is yourself. As you grow into a leadership role, its almost like you are on stage. More eyes are on you, what you do or don't do begins to have a serious impact on others. Choose wisely. You can only expect others to do what you do, nothing more. In order to be the person that you would follow yourself may require you to make sacrifices. And I promise you that there will be times that you are uncomfortable.
Get comfortable with the uncomfortable feeling of a gut check. That's growth you are experiencing. You can choose to face it and work through it or you can choose to tuck your tail and run. Either way its ultimately up to you.
Do More Before You Earn More
Volunteer to help. You have to give before you can receive or else the well will run dry. Always go the extra mile and it will show in your work, in your mannerisms, and in your circle of influence. Your circle of influence will start to grow. People will know that they can count on you, trust you, and best yet, get to know you better. Allowing you to share the vision to them, that they can be a leader too.
You have to have a servant mind, show others that you are willing to get down and dirty and you will have a powerful organization that respects you. Management often teaches to delegate, that it empowers others. If you truly want to lead an organization, lead don't manage. Actually, be a servant leader. Delegate to empower and assist others and then ask them this very powerful question:
"What can I do to help?"
Share your experience, wisdom, knowledge, belief, and vision.
For example, if there is an event that you will be attending, volunteer early to set up. If someone is having challenges, ask them what you can do to help. Show up early, stay late. Extend yourself for the benefits of others. This may take sacrifice but you will be rewarded in many more ways than you can imagine.
Becoming A Leader
Understand that you are the one that makes the decision whether or not you have what it takes to be a leader. Many people say that leaders are only found. As if there is a alien spaceship somewhere that is dropping leaders on the planet. I disagree with this idea, I believe that leaders are developed, sometimes internally first and oftentimes, over a long period of time.
Don't be discouraged, if you look around and don't think that you are the leader that you want to be. Just keep working at it, develop the skills, the characteristics, the strength of a leader. Once you start working on these skills, you will notice that more people are attracted to you. A little at first, and then as your skills get better and better, you will start to have more responsbilty and more influence on others.
Just know that being a true leader is a never ending process, you will never "arrive", but you will have one heck of a ride. :-)
I do have one question for everyone that has read this: