Leadership is much more than a title (YOU are a leader even if you don’t think so.)
We have often gone through life and had to take charge of a situation. Be it that time where we lead a talk, study group, work meeting. To the time where we simply gave direction to another, helped someone, and was the first to make a move or smile.
Regardless of what we may think and sometimes others, we are all leaders. Even if you don’t see yourself as one or think you could ever be one. The real question is what makes a great “leader”? Even better, how do we become the best leader that we can be? (You won’t believe the 3rd one until you read it.)
Here is what it means to me, but first a little story.
All of my life I have always been told: “be a leader and not a follower“. To be the difference I want to see in the world, and to treat others how I would want to be treated.
I have always been (well almost always) thrust into leadership roles. Be it in sports, games (like D&D hah,) groups, even online, and jobs. When I was working at the mental hospital in Kansas a few years back as an MH/DD Tech (Mental Health/Developmentalntal Disability Techichcain.) I was asked by the people who ran the entire campus (The lead doctor, directors, and campus coordinator) to be apart of the “Task Force” team. We would help elevate overtime on the campus (a campus of 350 plus employees and even more patients) and fix anything else that we were having problems with. Not only did I not apply for this position, I just recently started working there (maybe a year, if that) and was the youngest person on the board. Despite the surprise and not feeling like out of everyone I was the one that deserved it, they saw something in me that I didn’t see. Thankfully for them, we not only made a huge impact but I learned a valuable lesson. We are capable of things we would never dream of doing.
This just goes to show that we are often the ones that get in our own way more than others getting in our way. We are the first to say that we can’t-do something. We will be the last to say that we did a really good job at something (Even if we did amazing.) We are our own worst critics. But, that can be a good thing. It is a sure sign of a leader. It is a huge indicator that we hold ourselves to a higher expectation than others might. This is the first step to realizing we are all leaders.
Even though I have always been subjected into leadership roles, almost all of these times I was moved into the position, I never really wanted it. I was just doing me and it just kind of happened and or fell in my lap. They say the best leaders are the ones who didn’t want to be the leader.
What makes a great leader
I never saw myself as a “leader” just someone who wants the best for myself and everyone I know (even don’t know.)
So you may be asking now, what is a leader, and what makes a good leader?
Is it being charismatic? Courageous? Honest? Being smart? Well spoken? Attractive? And or being the “Alpha”? The list goes on. (Sure, these things/quality plays a huge role to it.)
I have been discovering that it is far more than these those.
It comes down to where we place others in correlations to ourselves.
It has more to do on WHY we do something as oppose to WHAT we do.
If we have a leader who is the best we have ever seen but his/her end goal (or even current) is to only promote their endeavors and not others, we may listen to them but we probably won’t truly admire them or at least feel like they really value us.
If we have a “leader” who not only promote themselves but others as well. The kind of leaders that make other leaders. The person who really listen to what we have to say. Someone who really cares about others almost as much as themselves (sometimes more.) We would go to the end of the earth for thst person. No challenge would be too BIG and no request too great.
I have found that EVERYONE is a leader. That moment where you ask if someone is doing okay. You are a leader.
That time where you help someone in need. YOU are a leader.
When you give without expecting anything in return.
YOU ARE A LEADER.
Being a leader (A good person) is caring about others and wanting the best for them.
No matter on the return of appreciation or gain.
Boils down to helping others be leaders themselves.
By taking time out just to check on another.
By inspiring others.
And by putting other people needs before our own.
We are drawn to those who aspire people who inspire. I have been binge watching all of Simon Sinek videos lately and I must say, he aspires people to inspire others.
The 5 qualities of a great leader.
This is one of the best ways to tell a good leader from a great leader. If we do not have a sense of integrity, everything will fall. How could we follow someone who doesn’t even stay true to their followers and more importantly themselves?
One of the best ways for us to have and keep integrity is to think how would we feel if someone did what we were about to do to us. What would our children think and or what would our childhood self-think of us? This is the first step of being a great leader. In building a legacy. This is the foundation of it all.
Being ethical ties virtually hand and hand with having integrity. As a psychology major, we are always talking about what is ethical and what isn’t. We have all seen the “leaders” who was willing to sacrifice others they were supposed to protect to get ahead. From bosses laying off their hard-working employee for a bigger pension or expansion. War general who sends his men to their demise for the “greater” good. The list goes on where things were not ethical, even if it did “Save” the day. We respect the leaders who will sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Who will find a way to save everyone, even if it means making the task harder to complete.
The best way to remain ethical is to place ourselves in their position. Would we want someone laying us off so they could make more? Having people experiment on us to get their next breakthrough (most people will say no to these.) As mention above to treat others how we want to be treated. Whenever we face this situation we must think is this good or bad.
This is my opinion is one of the most important ones (within reason.) We all have a good gauge on if someone is being true/real with us and even themselves. When we see people who are acting like someone they are not to gain favor, we are more often than not put off by them. How can we follow and or lead for that matter if we are not even following ourselves? There has never been a great leader who wasn’t authentic. To be authentic means to lead ourselves and to be ourselves regardless of what others think.
To be our most authentic selves we have to have a level of confidence that needs no approval. To be so secure in our skins that we wholeheartedly do what we believe in. This is the most liberating acts that we can do in life. This makes every other aspect of leadership much more attainable. The benefits from being authentic are almost endless. Lead by example. Here is a great video where I talk more about being authentic.
As the saying goes without confidence there is no action. To be a great leader takes a level of confidence that is unlike any other. When matched with being authentic it is almost natural for us to do. We are not likely to follow someone or have someone follow us if we hear “um.. I “think” we should do this”. That isn’t really ensuring. We want to hear “We need to do this and we have no chance of failing”. Now, that will spark others to act as well. Confidence is everything, to dating, work, school, and life. This is a skill (and I do say skill for a reason) that we all need to not only be a great leader but a great person.
The easiest way to build confidence is to do things that you are good at. Competence is confidence. If we are doing anything in life, the more we do it the more confident we begin to feel. The best way to create this is to practice it and before you know it, it will be second nature. (Matched with the 3rd one this becomes a lot more achievable.)
Many people think that compassion only has to do with being kind to others and helping others. but it is so much more than just that. Compassion is wanting to inspire others. Being there for someone just even if they can’t-do anything for us. A leader without compassion may have “respect” (loosely used) but they won’t have undying support out of free will. If people do things out of fear of what we might do, that is no true leader (or a good person.)
Building compassion is really simple to do. Ask others how they are feeling (even if you don’t have the time or already late.) Ask questions with the intent to listen and not to respond. Help others who are in need (and don’t tell anyone that you did. Even go volunteer your time to help others in need. Calling your parents/grandparents (they miss you.) Inspire and motivate others every chance that you get. Not only will this build compassion but it will also make us feel really good.
* Everyone is a leader (especially YOU!) even if you don’t think so.
* We are always harder on ourselves than others will be. We are far more powerful than we could ever have dreamed. YOU are limitless!
* Integrity is the foundation of being a great leader (& person.)
* Being ethical is the key to gaining respect and doing what is right not just beneficial.
* Authenticity is the secret to it all. We have to be ourselves so others can, in turn, be themselves. Lead by example.
* Confidence will get you to the finish line. It creates a sense of purpose. It ensures victory. We have to burn our bridges and give it our all. (Self-doubt is the number 1 killer.)
* Without compassion, all is lost. Small acts of kindness have ripples that affect people in ways that you may never know but keep doing them. These are what really makes the world a better place and is a sure sign of being a great leader and person.
Call to action.
Practice not only being a good leader but also a good person. Give without expecting anything in return. Speak up in those meetings, classes, when you see something that isn’t ethical. Be the first to make eye contact with a stranger with a nice smile. Even call people who haven’t heard from you for a while. Whatever you do, try to implement these practices/skills as many times as you can today (Even every day.) You can even keep a list of how many times you do to make it kind of like a game. There is no one you are competing against but yourself and you are your best competition.
“One person can change the world, but everyone should try to” – JFK
We are all in this together but it all starts with you! You are creating history!
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Author of- Perfectly Perfect