What makes a true inner leader?
Real leaders are assertive
Real leaders are decisive
Real leaders have integrity
True leaders encourage others
Ask yourself, do you have any of these qualities?
Most of us know what leadership is, but do we really know what it takes to become an effective leader?
There are many well-educated and motivated people who lack the skills and integrity to lead others. Most people do not aspire to be bad leaders. They just fail to see the big picture. We assume that these individuals were not born to be true leaders.
That is very bad, because we all need good leaders. Large corporations, small associations, and our favorite sports teams all need good leaders. Even our parents had better be good leaders or risk our families becoming dysfunctional. I think it’s safe to assume that our success as a country depends solely on good leadership.
Many think that being a leader is prestigious. Many romanticize the title, but fail to see the hard work that actually goes on behind the scenes. The responsibility given to a leader can be enormous. Not only do you risk being publicly ridiculed, blamed or criticized, but when the ship goes down, it’s the Captain who gets the blame.
Many may wonder why anyone would take on the responsibility of being a leader. Why would anyone risk criticism and responsibility for the outcome through the work of others?
Sometimes situations arise that require a person to step up and take charge, either because of their superior ability or simply because of their bravery. This is where the “Inner Leader” begins to develop. A true leader takes the first step and risks being ridiculed by his peers. A true leader steps up and says “I will” when no one else wants the job.
A true leader takes the proverbial “Bull by the horns” and is able to win the support of his followers to achieve an objective or goal. If this person cannot, then he finds himself ineffective and therefore fails in the responsibilities or goals that have been set for him.
Like George Washington, a true leader must lead from the front, so get out there. Be assertive in your step and decisive in your decision making. Set the example and be where the action is. Don’t sit in an air-conditioned office giving orders and calling out to that leadership. Most people, in general, are lost and need direction. Given the option to follow someone with integrity, intelligence, and a personable personality to lead the way, they will most likely follow. If you are that someone, by default you become their leader. A formal ceremony is not necessary.
When you discover the leader within you, you discover a person who maintains absolute integrity. Leadership is a trust. If others don’t completely trust you, they won’t follow you. Instead, they will try to dissect each and every situation on their own, thus creating chaos and confusion in the process. If the environment they are in is relatively stable, a less than ideal person for the job can lead without much difficulty. But if your situation requires you to make real demands on others, at a time when it really counts, and they don’t trust you or have confidence in your leadership, they may be hesitant to support you. Then the lack of confidence will become apparent and may well cause you to fail in your plans or goals.
A good leader is an excellent listener. He treats everyone and everyone he comes across as equals and with respect. This doesn’t mean he has to agree to and implement every suggestion, but by considering other people’s input, he’ll gain respect and his peers will know they have someone who cares. A good leader jumps into the trenches with his troops. If you don’t get your hands dirty and do what you ask of your subordinates, you’re already at a disadvantage. Leaders do what they have to do to achieve the goal. You are never too important to do the most insignificant tasks. You will notice that great leaders surround themselves with strong managers. Being a great leader yourself, surely you would only surround yourself with the brightest and most creative people.
These administrators will do your bidding and are the cogs that drive the whole machine.
Imagine, if you like, a cart wheel on a cart. If one or two of the spokes are missing, the integrity of the wheels is in danger of collapsing. Would you trust a heavy load on a cart with a broken wheel? Of course you wouldn’t. Without the spokes, the hub and the axle are useless and the fruit does not go to market. The same happens with people. Without a strong and assertive staff, the greatest of leaders will ultimately fail to achieve their goals or those of the company they are employed by.
A great leader is 100 percent committed to the goal. If he’s not 100 percent committed to his cause or goal, neither will his people. When they see a person who watches over the group and is willing to suffer the consequences of any risk they take, they will follow without hesitation. This is a sign of true leadership.
By pushing yourself to the limit, your strongest critics will rarely have anything to complain about. All you can do is… give it your all. The rest is history.
When you encourage others to display their leadership qualities, you not only help them develop their own inner leader, but you also develop their own leadership qualities. And that shows us. You will be rewarded many times over with your continued support, courage, and loyalty. When you, as a leader, are rewarded for a job well done, share the rewards and give others the credit they deserve. If you do, they will want to do more and work harder to help you with any task. Most people will always give their best for someone they admire and trust.
Abraham Lincoln described it best when he said, “You cannot develop character and courage by taking away a man’s independence and initiative.”
This is the number one reason why letting things happen can be your trump card. You get results. Putting an end to accepted belief may not happen all at once. You will often fail. But keep trying. Fail ahead, fail better. Never give up!
Expect positive results. Winners expect to win and losers expect to lose. Vincent Lombardi, one of the greatest football managers of all time, said: “We never lose, but sometimes we run out of time.” You can expect positive results and still not get exactly what you want. But, research has shown that those who “think positive” achieve more gains than losses and generally better results than those who don’t.