Jack Welch once said: ” Before becoming a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” It’s a very powerful message, and couldn’t be more accurate related to the discussion on leadership.
Oddly, in our society, for some reason, a leader is generally considered a defined role. For example, a CEO of a company, the President of the Unites States… You get the point. The question I ask you, and I ask myself often is: Aren’t we all leaders in some fashion?
I believe we ALL have a god given ability to be leaders. The decision to act in a fashion of a leader, or, the decision to deny that god given ability is ours. The question I ask is: If God GAVE you an ability, wouldn’t it be wrong to not use it to honor him? The name “leader” does not have to be defined as a “trend setter”, “innovative”, or “outside the box thinker.” A leader can be someone as simple as a great parent, grandparent, individual that lifted up others, a servant in a local community program, or, it could be in a defined “leadership role.”
Looking back at my own life, and I think most anyone can relate; we remember leaders (sometimes called mentors) that helped shape who were are, our beliefs, and our way of looking at things. Those leaders helped grow us. One cannot deny the facts, young adults that have gotten themselves in trouble with the law, experienced drug and alcohol abuse problems, or worse, ALL when asked, describe a lack of leadership in their life. So if we have the ability to positively (or negatively) influence someone, how could we in good conscience attempt to NOT do good with this opportunity?
Often, when I think about my own leadership failures, and talk with other great leaders who have fallen and then risen, it generally stems around forgetting you are a leader, you have influence over others, and even self greed. To paraphrase what Jack Welch said: before becoming a leader (aka “out for yourself”) it’s about growing you. (aka: Its all about me) When you become a leader (defined by having the ability to influence others, and they follow your vision) Your success is about growing others (the measure of being a successful leader is defined by helping others be successful)
So by my view, the simple answer to “how can I be a great leader?” Is not answered with: Education, Experience, Intelligence, or any of the likes. It’s answered with: “taking my eyes off myself and focusing on how I can serve and help others.” This seems like such a contradictory statement in a society that is all about: “doing what makes you feel good.” “Doing whats best for me” “No one but me can look out for me.” It is true and accurate though.
So here are a few steps, in my opinion that help one begin traveling down the road of becoming a great leader:
a. Acknowledge you ARE a leader, you have an ability to influence, and uplift others. This is no small opportunity. DO NOT take this for granted
b. Actions speak louder than words and never forget it.
c. Great leaders hang around great leaders. So, if you want to become a leader, time to ditch the “going nowhere very fast” acquaintances, and start INVESTING your time with LEADERS. (AKA: Increase your sphere of influence)
d. Cut yourself some slack. No great leader was “born” with all the “right” leadership traits. They are learned traits through experience and formal education.
e. INVEST in yourself: These investments MUST include reading. Leaders are Readers. If your like me, reading is difficult for the ADHD challenged. Guess what, other great leaders had the same problem; so suck it up buttercup!
f. Never, Ever, Ever, Ever, forget the gift of leadership is earned, and continually earned. We can all think of “defined” leaders in which very few followed them. Your choices and actions, determine your ability to lead and influence.
g. INVEST your time and talents with others, whenever given the opportunity. GIVE of yourself to others.
f. Humbleness, and Humility are a great leaders two best traits.
g. “Check in” with yourself often. Ask yourself: “Am I leading?” “Am I in a position of positive influence?” “Is there documentable growth in those I’m attempting to lead?”
h. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Give all the glory back to God. For it is him who has given you these gifts.
Jeff Randol Leadership