First and foremost: becoming a leader means that you take responsibility. Whether this means responsibility for your general situation in life or just the situation that you find yourself in at the present moment. This personal responsibility is the one factor that will spur you to take action in your life.
The majority of the human population is a made up of followers. It makes sense that most of us find ourselves in this role since mother nature would not want a whole species of leaders: that would be chaos. The biggest reason why most people are followers is because it’s much easier to take orders than to give them. It’s much easier to not have to put your neck on the line. But there might come a point when you say to yourself that enough is enough and that the outcome of a situation is too important. At this moment you will have to make a decision to take responsibility for the outcome, because as they say, “If you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself.”
So just in case you find yourself in that situation in the near future, let’s go over a few things to keep in mind.
Perhaps are thinking that if mother nature wants only some leaders and mostly followers then maybe you are most likely part of the majority. If this is what you think, then stop reading now and go back to watching television…sorry to have bothered you. If on the other hand you have felt the pang of needing to get things done right, then remember that true leaders are self made, not born.
The most important factor in good leadership is the ability to tell people what to do. “I’m covered,” you say, “I can tell anybody what to do.” Well it’s not that simple. A leader must learn to influence others in such a way that he or she does not ruffle any feathers.
Leaders must master the art of prudence and group cohesion. To be a good leader means being very understanding of the needs of others. Only when you can understand the needs of those that you wish to lead, will you have any chance of attaining a leadership role. The average person has the idea that the best leader acts just like the sergeant does in those war movies; screaming orders at everyone and ruling men through fear. Well let me tell you that the only place that those sergeants exists is in boot camp, the movies and bad armies. In an elite army, the leader is always responsible, respected, and liked. If people don’t like you in a war situation, you tend to accidentally get shot in the back.
So how do you get others to follow you?
People follow strength and certainty. They follow those that act in a very congruent manner. Congruency means that all your actions (body language), tone, and phrasing are aligned with the message that you are conveying. When you say something, you believe what you say with every ounce of your being. People follow those that seem very certain of what they are doing and seem to know exactly where they are going.
In order to be a leader, you must see the big picture. You must understand where you fit in the scheme of things. To whom do you answer to? What is the overall group motivation. What are the general group benefits, rewards and punishments? What are the obstacles that you must overcome in order to accomplish your mission or goal?
To be respected and trusted you must set an example that others would follow. Truly grand leaders do not even need to command others at all. They just set an example that others must follow. When advice is asked of them, they respond with kind words and set others in motion towards the completion of the group objective.
In order to be a good leader, you must work very hard to maintain good relationships. You must always show others as much self respect as you can. In this way others will be prepared to follow you anywhere. If you ever disrespect another, you can be very sure that they will remember it for the rest of your relationship together.
You must understand your trade better than anyone in your team. You don’t need to know the ins and outs of every little thing but you must have a familiarity with all the things that you will be dealing with and most importantly you must understand how these things fit in the big picture.
Learn to communicate. Rehearse if you must but be sure to master the art of verbal, kinesthetic (body language) and written communication.
To be a good leader often times means being a good judge. Practice the art of fair and ethical judgment. Learn to logically appraise a situation and give judgment in the most fair and humane way possible.
Leaders must also know how to assign tasks. You can’t do it all yourself so you must remember to assign tasks to all of the members of your team. This means that you will have to judge the characters and merits of all of the people that you are charged to lead. Those that are strong at some things will most often be weak at others. Discern the strengths and weaknesses of each member and assign tasks accordingly.
As you can see, being a leader takes a lot of hard work and diligence. That must be why most people would rather just be followers and why most leaders fail. But if you have the will and desire to become a leader, then you only need courage and hard work.
Follow the instructions given and you will become a great leader in no time! Your courage will come from taking responsibility for your life and your situation. And with hard work you will learn to master the techniques needed to change your life and the life of others for the better.