The road to leadership must begin with you. You must be willing to work on yourself in order to become a leader. Now do not get me wrong you can be a leader right now but if you want to increase your leadership you must be willing to get the training and educate yourself so that you move to the next level. As you improve yourself you increase your capacity to lead a more diverse group.
What kind of training am I talking about; well it is not the college education. While that is important it is not what makes a leader. What makes a leader is the personal development you do for yourself. The reading of books on how to improve, the taking of personal development courses; things to help you change the way you think.
My road to leadership began several years ago. It started by my desire to read books to improve my skills. Skills like communicating with people, changing your thoughts, and changing who you are. Some of these books include “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, “Think and Grow Rich” and “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. I also took some leadership development courses. In these courses I learned skills like how to trust people, Win-Win, Responsibility, Compassion, Service, Abundance, Honesty and Getting out of your comfort zone.
Lets talk about trust for a minute. Trust can be broken down into two things: do you trust others and do they trust you. If you do not trust others then it is very difficult for them to trust you. Trust is the foundation of relationships. If the people you lead do not trust you then they are going to be less likely to freely do what is asked. They may do it out of fear of the consequences but not because of you as the leader.
Here are some things for you to think about on trust. Do you trust other people and if so how far? Will you trust others with your life, money, or a deep secret? Will other people trust you with their money, life or a deep secret? Have you become so jaded that you do not trust anyone anymore? Are you trustworthy?
Win-Win is a concept that revolves around the belief that both parties can come out a winner. The people that operate from win-lose do so because they believe it must be either – or. It is possible that you both can get what you want and both win. When you operate from the belief that it has to be either-or you focus on one of you winning and the other losing. It is possible for both parties to win and everybody leaving the transaction feeling good about it. Even in a bad situation it is possible to have a Win – Win result.
Here is an example: Someone is in a bad way with their house and has fallen behind in their payments. Someone wanting to help save their home contacts them. The person wanting to help will win because they get a home at a lower price than retail. The person behind in payments wins by saving their credit, getting some money for the equity they have in the home and a peace of mind from not having the mortgage holder call them.
Here are some things for you to think about on Win-Win. Do you operate from a position of win-win? What is the potential for growth if you change your thinking from win-lose, either-or to Win - Win? How different would the world be if everyone in it (The leaders, Those in position of Authority, You and I, Etc.) operated from win-win?
Responsibility is not the concept of being at fault. It is the position of being responsible for your actions regardless of the consequences. A person that is responsible believes that they make things happen by the choices they make. They do not believe things happen to them. A perfect example of responsible is a person who is pulled over for speeding. They have a choice. They can be responsible and say to themselves I made the choice to speed and these are the consequences of that choice. They could also choose to not take responsibility and say why did this happen to me.
Here are some things for you to think about on responsibility. Do you take responsibility for your choices or are you a victim to the things that happen to you? How would it change your life if you started to take responsibility?
Compassion is about wanting to help others. It does not mean you are weak or soft. Having compassion means you genuinely care about the people you lead and want to help them succeed in their ventures. If you help people get what they want you will get what you want. By having compassion for your constituents you show how much of a true leader you are.
Here are some things for you to think about on compassion. Who would it impact in your organization if you had true compassion for the people you lead? How could you impact your life, community, country or the world by having compassion?
Service is not something we do. It is a lifestyle we live. I would like to start off with a quote by William Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Most people live an ordinary life. There are some that live an astonishing life. These are the people that in addition to being highly successful in life make a great contribution to society, the people they come in contact with, and leave a legacy for future generations.
Being of service is not necessarily about giving money to those in need. It’s about giving of your time, talent, or finances unconditionally without expectation of return or reward. The person living the astonishing life is always looking for ways to make their surroundings and the world a better place.
While there are some people that value their life above all else there are also those that value life above their own. Giving not only includes giving to others but also giving to yourself. If you do not take care of yourself you may come to the point where you feel like you cannot give any more and you get burnt out. Remember to take care of yourself so that you can continue to be of service to others.
Some people think that they must look out for them selves or no one else will. They live in a world where there are winners and losers. There are those that choose a different path and instead of seeing winners and losers they see a world whereby helping others win, they win as well. If you truly want to grow in life give what you have little of. By doing this you will increase your capacity in this area.
Here are some things for you to think about on Service. How can you impact your community, or the world with your service? How would the world change if everyone tried to be of service to others?
Abundance is a belief that there are unlimited resources you simply need to tap into so that you can help yourself and others. Most people believe there is not enough (time, money etc.) to go around. This comes from a scarcity line of thinking. By living in scarcity you truly limit yourself. You limit yourself by your fear of loss. You prevent yourself from helping others learn and grow. If you live with a scarcity line of thinking you may hoard your skills out of fear of loss.
Here are some things for you to think about on abundance. How much more giving and service could you do if you were truly abundant? How would it change your life if you started believing there is unlimited abundance of what you need - you just have to ask for it? How much better could your organization be if you stopped hoarding your skills and taught others what you know so they can do better also?
Honesty is being truthful in all that you say and do. If you are honest in your dealings you build trust. With the increase of trust you better your relationships. With the increase in the
quality of your relationships your organization becomes stronger.
Here are some things for you to think about on honesty. What has been affected by your honesty or lack of? What has been gained or lost because of it? What can you do to change that? If you gain something great through dishonesty how does that affect you and your relationships with others?
To grow as a leader you must take action. If what you are currently doing is inside your comfort zone then to grow you need to do something outside of that. If you are comfortable talking to people below you but totally uncomfortable talking to people above you then you should work on that. By doing that you expand your abilities and do not stagnate. If you stagnate then you stop growing and if you stop growing your organization stops growing.
Here are some things for you to think about on getting out of your comfort zone. How can you help your organization grow by getting out of your comfort zone? What could you do today to get out of your comfort zone? How would that impact you and those around you?
I challenge you to take action today in becoming the leader you can be.
By Robert Vance
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