Your growth as a leader begins right now, wherever you are. You don’t have to be president of a billion dollar company to be a leader. You can start with your current relationships, your family and friends, your ward associations, your school, or your work place. Developing your leadership skills can prepare you for greater challenges in the future.
If I were to ask you to think of leaders you have admired and those who have influenced your life, who would you be thinking of? How about your parents or a specific teacher or coach who influenced you significantly? Or maybe a mentor at work?
For most of us, leadership is a day-to-day affair of how we strive to be our best and how we get others to be their best. Leadership implies our responsibility at work, in the community, in the church, or in our family.
Great leaders are often all around us. Very often it is people who are closest to us who achieve great things with few resources. The seeds of greatness lie in each of us who seek leadership, even in the most humble of businesses.
Chances are you haven’t really considered yourself a leader until now. If so, you might be surprised to learn how many ways you actually are a leader, especially to those who are closest to you. You could be the leader of a group or maybe just one or two people. It could be because of your job, a particular interest you have, or maybe the quality of a relationship you have with someone, such as your children or loved ones. There are people around you who look up to you and believe in you as a role model and leader.
Believe me when I say that you are already leading in ways that you may not be fully aware of. Never underestimate the impact you have on the lives of others.
“The ability to improve our world starts with how we live our lives.”
Let me assure you that this is when you have great power to help shape the lives of others, especially when you choose to lead by example. Remember this: at least once a day, try to ask yourself if your life is a good example to others. This is part of the contribution you can make to change the lives of others for the better. The ability to make our world better starts with how we live our lives and how we lead by example to others. Think about how your future vision can point the way for others. Think about people you could be an example to and how you set an example to them.
To develop your leadership skills, you will become the kind of person others want to follow. You need to demonstrate the leadership qualities that others are drawn to and are likely to emulate. Managers need to be able to share their visions for the future with other people.
You don’t have to be a compelling speaker to be a good leader, but you do need to be able to express your thoughts clearly and orderly, and speak powerfully enough that your audience will understand that you mean what you are saying.
As you develop the effectiveness of good listening habits, you can not only hear more, but also better understand the information being conveyed to you. Nothing will improve your reputation as a leader more than being willing to listen. Remember that listening, not imitating, is the most sincere form of flattery.
I’ve made a list of several other attributes that have been identified in good leaders that I want to pass on to you. As you read each one, consider which ones already apply to you and which you would like to apply:
A good leader …
- Takes responsibility and takes it seriously.
- Seek and listen to others, but make up your own mind.
- Wants to leave the world better than he finds it.
- Has a genuine interest in others: their joys, sorrows, hopes, hurts, needs, and fears.
- Learn from the past but focus on the future.
- Intends to serve others.
- Expect the best from others as from yourself.
- Learn from role models, but know who he or she is.
- Knows the power of yes and no and knows when to say that.
- They know how to set goals and pursue them.
- Is dedicated to his or her work and the achievement of goals.
- Will not be put off by critics or naysayers.
- Admit mistakes, accept mistakes, learn from them and move on.
- It’s not always right, but more right than wrong.
- Gives the moral tone to his company.
- Is honest and tries to be fair.
- Is excited and optimistic about being successful.
- Motivate others with trust and belief in them.
The demand for executives is always greater than the supply because most would rather be led than led. Opportunities are always within your grasp. Great leaders are motivated by goals that are greater than their self-interest.
Finally, remember that leaders are preparing others to take on their roles. They want their vision to be preserved. Someone once said to Walt Disney’s nephew Roy that it was a shame his uncle didn’t live long enough to see everything he’d started. Roy Disney replied, “Sir, my uncle was the first to see all of this. We’re just building the vision he had years ago. “
Robert Stuberg is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, and bestselling author of many books, including The 12 Life Secrets, Creating Your Ultimate Destiny, and Sell and Grow Rich. Stuberg specializes in helping people find and use their unique talent – the only thing they are supposed to do.
This post was originally published in January 2009. Since then it has been updated to ensure that it is current and accurate.
Photo by @ bea.revay / Shutterstock
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