Many 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.
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.
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!