Louis Bonaventura asked:
When you are at work, do you get frustrated because things don’t seem to be happening the way they’re supposed to be? You see people milling around but nothing gets accomplished.
And in the daily hustle and bustle, do you feel that your goals remain just that – goals? Then maybe its time for you to take control and do something about it.
Most people are content just to stand around waiting for orders to be thrown at them. And it isn’t unusual to adopt a “follow-the-leader” mentality. But maybe, somewhere inside of you, you have the desire to make things happen – to be the head, not the tail. Then maybe leadership is where you need to be.
Some people believe that great leaders are made, not born. Yes, it may be true that some people are born with natural talents. However, without practice, drive, enthusiasm, and experience, there can be no true development in leadership. Their talents go to waste.
Good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their skills, whether they are natural or learned. This takes a commitment to constantly improve in whatever endeavor a person chooses.
Personal development is a large part of being a good leader. You should engage in some form of personal development EVERY DAY! You should read, or listen to, a personal development or leadership book or recording every morning before you start your day. Every morning you should read, or listen to, a new personal development lesson. The 10-15 minutes you take to do this every day will change your life! It’ll get you motivated and get your day off to a fantastic start!
Now, let’s define leadership. To be a leader, you must be able to influence and motivate others to accomplish a goal, or an objective. A leader contributes to the organization and cohesion of a group.
Contrary to what most people believe, leadership is not about power. Unfortunately, way too many people believe it is and they let the “power” go to their heads. Then they end up being despised instead of looked up to as the leaders of the group. Being a leader is not about harassing people or driving them through the use of fear. It is about encouraging others towards the goal of the organization. It is putting everyone on the same page and helping them see the big picture of the organization. You must be a leader, not a boss.
To begin with, you have to get people to follow you. How is this accomplished?
People follow others when they see a clear sense of purpose. They get the same “vision” that the leader has. People will only follow you if they see that you know where you are going. Remember that bumper sticker? The one that says, don’t follow me, I’m lost too? The same holds true for leadership. If you do not know where you’re headed, chances are people will not follow you.
You must know the vision of the organization. Having a clear sense of hierarchy, knowing who the bosses are, who to talk with, the organizational goals and objectives, and how the organization works is the primary to show others you know what you are doing. If they sense that you know what you’re doing and where you’re heading, they will follow you without question.
Being a leader is also not about what you make others do. It’s about who you are, what you know, and what you do. You are a reflection of what your subordinates must be. They will duplicate their leader’s actions.
Studies have shown that the basis of good leadership is the trust and confidence your subordinates have of you. If they trust you, they will go through hell and high water for you, and for the organization.
Trust and confidence is built on good relationships, trustworthiness, and high ethics. The way you deal with your people, and the relationships you build, will lay the foundation for the strength of your group. The stronger your relationship, the stronger their trust and confidence is in your capabilities and the more they will do to help you achieve the goal.
Once you have their trust and confidence, you may now proceed to communicate the goals and objectives you are to undertake. Communication is a very important key to good leadership. Without this you can not be a good leader. The knowledge and technical expertise you have must be clearly imparted to other people.
Also, you can not be a good leader and unless you have exercise judgment. You must be able to assess situations, weigh the pros and cons of any decision, and actively seek out a solution. It is this judgment that your subordinates will come to rely upon. Therefore, good decision-making is vital to the success of your organization.
Leaders are not do-it-all heroes. You should not claim to know everything, and you should not rely upon your skills alone. You should recognize and take advantage of the skills and talents your subordinates have. Only when you come to this realization will you be able to work as one cohesive unit.
Remember being a leader takes a good deal of work and time. It is not learned overnight, it is an ongoing process. Remember, also, that it is not all about you. It is about you, the people around you, and ultimately the goal you are trying to reach.
Do you have the drive and desire required of leaders? Do you have the desire to work cooperatively with other people? Then start now. Take your stand and begin becoming a good leader today. Just being, or claiming to be, a leader isn’t enough, you need to BE a good, strong leader.