leader walking on stageEveryone has the ability to lead in some way.  Most people think they have to wait until they are in a supervisory or management position before thinking about their leadership style.  Leadership is not a title – it’s who you are. And if you truly feel like you will make a good leader, start cultivating the skills necessary to get there. 

What skills make a good leader?  See if you have any of these:

  • Influential
  • Accountable
  • Courageous
  • Passionate
  • Motivating

Peter Drucker, who wrote The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership said, “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.”

Often misunderstood is the relationship between charisma and leadership.  Keep in mind that they are not synonymous – in fact, many great leaders are not charismatic.  Check out this article about leadership and charisma.

A good leader:

  • Develops others which in turn leads to success for all
  • Explores collective views and experiences
  • Portrays themselves the way they want the others to act

What can you do to become a better leader?

  1. First thing to remember about leadership is that you need to check your ego at the door.  It’s not about you – it is about the people you lead.  No one wants to know how smart you are or that you have all the answers.  Good leaders are the ones who help others find their own unique spark and can get them to the much sought after “ah ha!” moments.  Those rare moments of clarity and insight about yourself that help propel you ahead.  Leadership represents something more…It is about giving first to others the skills and motivation they need – the freedom to achieve.  Keep in mind that everyone has a special set of skills and motivations and to overlook them is doing so at your own peril.
  2. A good leader shares their vision with others and creates an environment of shared cohesiveness.  Instead of just telling people what to do, take the time and ask them about their goals and visions and then strive to align their goals with the overarching goals of the company.  By sharing these goals and visions, good leaders create “buy-in” and ensure that everyone is moving forward together.  Good leaders motivate others to want to work on their own performance.
  3. Make mistakes. People don’t follow you because you are perfect – they follow you because you believe.  That makes them believe.  Each time you make a mistake, treat it as not only a learning opportunity for yourself, but for those around you.  And don’t take yourself too seriously.
  4. You don’t get “off days.”  A good leader has a consistently positive attitude and does not allow their emotions to cloud their judgement.  Remember that no matter how many times you have done a great job, the one time you allow your negative emotions to get the better of you is the one time they will remember.  Try to practice some positive self-talk in the morning.
  5. Don’t sweat the challenges. Adversity is part of the job when you are a leader and the best leaders have not only dealt with adversity, but overcame it and learned from it.  A great leader is UNRELENTING and perseveres. You don’t learn when things are good.

So remember:

  1. Check your ego
  2. Share your vision
  3. Have a great attitude
  4. Make mistakes
  5. Learn from adversity

A superior who works on his own development sets an almost irresistible example. Peter Drucker

Remember the difference between a boss and a leader; a boss says “Go!” – a leader says “Let’s go!” – E.M. Kelly

Leadership is action, not position. – Donald H. McGannon

With great power, comes great responsibility – Uncle Ben from Spiderman

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Joe Girard
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