The Making of a Leader

public_speaker_smMany of us who are on a personal development path have a handful of favorite authors and speakers. We choose them over many others because they share their know-how in a way that resonates with us at the personal level. Moreover, some of them have a special gift, that of communicating as if they were talking to us directly and individually, making us forget that we are part of a larger audience. You know what I mean, don’t you?

These individuals often share certain characteristics, such as charisma, self-confidence and even humor, which helps them deliver their knowledge with ease. For example, two of the people I personally admire are Tony Robbins for his seemingly endless energy and sense of humor, and Paul McKenna for his writing style and his relaxing voice that induces blissful meditation in a minute or less. But regardless of their individual qualities, all of them have one thing in common: they are leaders in their field.

Many people mistakenly believe that leaders are born. Truth is, nobody is born a leader. A leader is made. If you want to become a leader to inspire and motivate people toward excellence, your first step should be becoming acquainted with the qualities of a great leader. The following points should point you in the right direction…

The Making of a Leader

1. Willpower and Self Discipline

Every great leader in history has mastered willpower in order to ignite their drive and act on their goals. Self-discipline goes side by side with willpower as they understand that the drive to act is just the first step but stamina is kept through focus and discipline.

Adopt these qualities by following through with everything you do. Regardless of challenges, you’ve got to train yourself to be disciplined enough to be and do what’s needed in order to achieve your goals, even when you don’t feel like it. Be strong in your resolve and resist the temptation to give up. When you do this, you’ll be setting an example for others to live up to.

2. Focus

Leaders stay focused on the big picture and especially when the going gets tough. If you don’t have a purposeful goal and the burning desire to achieve it, you won’t be able to lead others to attain their goals either.

3. Communication

A leader should always explain the goal, the purpose, and the steps to follow, completely and clearly. Otherwise, his followers will lose interest, aim and motivation.

Your followers must clearly understand and identify with the main goal. They should also share your mission, vision and work ethic. This is essential to get them involved from start. Get them to participate in the planning process and the implementation of your ideas. Every step of the way, you must communicate with your team clearly to make sure everybody is on the same page. They also need to know what you expect of them. This gives everyone a greater sense of ownership toward the end result.

4. Praise and Criticism

A leader recognizes the initiative and good decisions of her team, feels proud of their achievements and lets them know this. She also reflects constructively on mistakes and learns from them.

To lead effectively, you must praise highly and criticize constructively. This can make the difference between being able to lead effectively or failing at it.  Make sure you publicly praise the people who do an excellent job. You’ll be giving them a sense of accomplishment and the motivation to do even better. However, when someone makes a mistake, offer constructive criticism and do it privately. Follow with suggestions to improve the situation and offer possible solutions so they can better their performance. Give them time to ask questions and give them guidance. They’ll accept your input more willingly if they know it’s done to help and not to hurt them.

5. Know Your People

A leader takes the time to know who they’re working with. This can make or break the end result. Truth is, you cannot truly lead a group of people unless you take the time to understand their hopes and struggles as well as their dreams and goals.

Dedicate some time to talk to your people and get to know them at the personal level. This will help strengthen the bond between you and them. They’ll want to perform better because you are not just acting like a boss. You must set boundaries, however. Be a leader first, and then their friend.

6. Make Difficult Decisions

A leader has to make difficult decisions from time to time, and his decisions cannot be influenced by personal relationships. Firing, demoting, or holding people accountable for their actions can sometimes be very hard. If you want to be a good leader, you must learn to put your feelings aside to handle this responsibility properly.

Like anything else in personal growth, you’ve got to start with resolve and belief in yourself. Believe that you can be a strong leader and you will. Always remember that in order to lead others, you must be disciplined yourself. After all, your actions will speak louder than anything you ever say.

You will gain the respect of your team by leading by example in every area of your life, so your personal values are important too. Follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true leader!

Have you had the opportunity to lead others? What advise can you add to this article? Or, if you were on the other side of the equation… what would you have liked from your leader? Please share in the comments area below, and through Social Media if you found this post helpful. Thank you!

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11 Responses to The Making of a Leader

  1. Scott April 17, 2015 at 11:24 AM #

    Excellent article! To me, #6 is the hardest. I have been in a situation in which I had to make a very difficult decision. Last year, my cousin was let go. With a family to feed and bills piling up, I decided to give him a chance and hired him to work at my auto shop. Unfortunately, it didn’t work and I had to let him go. It put a strain in my family. I went from compassionate to bad boy fast. It was difficult at so many levels. Lesson learned.

  2. EditorsRHumansToo! April 18, 2015 at 6:06 AM #

    Reading through these teaching points, “The Making of a Leader” allows room to think carefully. Communication, modeling, leadership, discipline, and faith in the people that each person is potential for greater heights of respect – I think, is a humbled privilege of a good leader in carrying out her responsibilities as the leader.

    “Praise and Criticism” bring the rein of leadership in proper perspective in the working environment. Everyone works to the contribution of the good of everyone.

    “Communication,” which, I value most in my relationships. I often tell my children and the people I work with, “You will find out the answers to your questions, verbalized or unspoken, if you ask.”

    “Knowing your people” with a heart of understanding and love for truth; it keeps our relationships in the level of trust and genuine care for one another, and with mutual respect and love.

    “Focus” – I’ve known leaders of an ancient nation who have inspired and blessed the world: to think and help make the entire world a better place, to love life, to love truth, and to bring peace, and defend its people and nation from its enemies of peace, truth and unity.

    I respect and admire their leaders and learn from them with a highest regard. I think my leadership role and following my decisions to bring about healing, peace and safety in life is reflective of these life-changing choices I have learned from these leaders I admire and follow. And from what I’ve taken from your article. Thank you.

    • Tammy April 20, 2015 at 10:55 PM #

      Thank you for such a detailed comment – Namaste…

  3. apsuccess April 19, 2015 at 8:46 AM #

    This is a great post and really speaks to the true qualities of a leader. The only other thing I would ad is for leaders to work and serve in being that example. I agree with you on how important self-discipline is and how key communication is.

    I am a leader of an artist guild and looking over these points, I see the value of them all. Reading this will help me be more attentive to these points and continue to grow as a leader.

  4. Visioneering Lifestyle April 22, 2015 at 3:26 AM #

    I admire and follow a leader of a nation who loves his country and the people. He leads with integrity, and do everything with all his power to protect, provide security for human lives and keep the peace within.

    Yes, I am in a leadership role where I will do my utmost to provide mutual respect and trust among us.

  5. Stephan May 7, 2015 at 11:17 AM #

    I agree and it’s really all about willpower. Looking back, it’s whenever I did not give up that I achieved something.

  6. dano May 18, 2015 at 8:54 PM #

    I’d say that a true leader is marked by his or her level of conviction. As a matter of fact, I believe it is this very thing that makes normal people into leaders. Until you reach and accomplish your goals you will never feel fulfilled. And as long as you believe in yourself you will always be seen as a leader by others.

  7. Jan Roberts February 24, 2017 at 1:38 PM #

    I would like to add that a leader should have integrity. This may not necessarily be a person’s birthright as people change over time, hopefully for the best. What is important at the end of the day is that a leader is able to fortify his/her character, to include integrity in his/her personal system and way of life.

    Once other people recognize that a leader has integrity, he/she will gain their respect. He/she will be easily understood for all the decisions he/she is compelled to make, regardless of how difficult these may be. People will know that those decisions are guided by the leader’s moral compass.

    On the part of the leader, he/she will be able to sleep peacefully every night with the knowledge that his/her competencies are complemented with his/her character.

  8. Ines February 27, 2017 at 3:00 PM #

    I believe that integrity should also be a characteritic of a good leader. Integrity develops over time and depending on each person’s moral compass; it becomes embedded in his/her character over time.

    Leaders who have integrity easily gain the respect and understanding of people in their circle and viceversa. Just look at the leaders we have in office today and you’ll see what I mean. Regardless of the difficult decisions leaders have to make, they should keep their integrity even if people do not agree at first. Over time, people will realize the decisions were based on integrity and will get accepted, especially when the results are favorable for most. Their competencies complemented by their integrity make a potent combination that in the end also contributes to their self-worth and inner peace of a true leader.

  9. Peter March 13, 2017 at 5:42 PM #

    Focus has been a challenge for me. I own 3 online businesses and I get distracted easily, but I’m working on this. I have found that using an alarm clock for every task, helps me a lot. For instance, I write from 8am to 10am for my main blog and when the alarm goes off, I move to my next project of the day. Even if I didn’t finish, I pick up tomorrow where I left off. Fortnately I don’t get writer’s block often. So far it’s working!

  10. Kate B. March 19, 2017 at 3:54 PM #

    A fantastic break down on the qualities of leaders. I believe that the best leaders are able to practice what they preach, and demonstrate through example how to improve people’s lives. People naturally will follow those who are charismatic and possess a good sense of humour, but the most important factor [for me at least] is that they are able to implement what they say into their own lives. Otherwise, no matter how charismatic or funny a person may be, I’d never consider them a worthwhile leader as they might be unreliable.

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