Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership.
I think I first heard this from John Maxwell many moons ago. And it is as true now as it was then…possibly even truer when you consider how small the world has become and how easy it is to find the truth if you are willing to dig hard enough.
If you consider business in general, there are lots of fantastic products and concepts that either didn’t succeed or crashed and burned. On the other side of this is there are many businesses that have average products yet enjoy massive success. At the core of this is people. People are the most important thing in any company…and leadership is the key to making the work happen in a sustainable way through the people.
One of my favorite leadership quotes is “I am more afraid of 100 sheep led by a lion, than a 100 lions led by a sheep” Ct. Talleyrand
That pretty much sums it up. The question is…
What Does The Metaphorical “Lion” Look Like?
Or maybe you are thinking you aren’t a lion? Or you can’t be a lion? This is where the good news comes in. Lots of people have a huge misconception about leadership and their own ability to be a leader.
Having trained thousands of leaders all over the world, as well as mentored and coached leaders, in addition to deeply studying the topic for over 25 years, I can tell you one thing that is an absolute fact: Everyone has characteristics and strengths that can be developed and utilized in leadership.
There is no hard and fast recipe. If you want to be a leader, you can be a leader. Now it’s going to take some time to become one…leadership is not a right, nor are you instantly granted it because you made the choice to lead. Leadership comes from influence which is the purposeful application of your credibility. These things are earned.
You Earn It Over Time by Demonstrating That You Are a Person Worthy of Following.
I could write all day…in fact I have (see my Leadership Book Leading With Heart, which was written for the home business industry but is applicable to anything)….but I will shorten this and give you the top four leadership qualities to demonstrate to help you understand how doable this is.
These four come from decades of research, involving many thousands of people, in many different companies all over the world. This can be found in the book The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner, which I strongly encourage you to read multiple times. So here you go…
- Honesty– In every leadership session I conduct, this comes up as one of the most important things. It may be expressed as integrity as well, but the bottom line is that leadership is a trust. This is THE most important one.
- Forward-Thinking-People want to follow someone who has vision and can see what others don’t readily see.
- Competent– This is an important one to grasp. If you think about some of the best leaders in companies and sports for example, were they the best at doing the actual thing they are leading? Was John Wooden the best basketball player? The answer is no. BUT, they are competent at the basics. The best leaders aren’t the best doers per se, they are good enough at the thing, and then they are masters at helping others be excellent.
- Inspiring-All it takes to be inspiring is to be real about the true journey. Success through struggles is inspiring. Working through personal challenges and weaknesses is authentic and inspiring. People are inspired when they feel like they can do it. This is one of the reason many superstars don’t make great leaders. People cannot see themselves being that. If you need coaching on this I can help you with it.
So there you have it. All four of these traits are something that anyone can do. And that is the magic. When I stand in front of a room of a hundred leaders I can tell you that none of them look the same, have the same pedigree, background, experience, etc. They are all people who made a decision to lead at some point and then worked their tail off to become the best version of themselves they could be, and ultimately earned the right to lead.
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