Real leadership is all about the people, and the more emotionally aware we are, the better and stronger the connections we can make.
The best definition of leadership that I have come across is that of John Quincy Adams who said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
I like this definition as it means that any of us can become a leader because leadership is defined by our actions, and not by a set of personality traits or characteristics that are a lottery of birth. Leaders are not born; they are made. And here are eight things that you can do that will help you to become a leader.
1. Be accountable.
Being accountable is about making commitments and meeting commitments, it’s about taking ownership, about being reliable and dependable and it’s about delivering. When we show that we are accountable, it builds trust, and trust is the cornerstone of good leadership.
2. Be passionate.
People follow passion, not titles; it’s as simple as that. When we are passionate, our energy, excitement and enthusiasm become infectious, and it can inspire and motivate those around us. Passion keeps us going through the tough times and helps to continue when quitting would be the easy option.
3. Be respectful.
Respect is a reciprocal arrangement. The more respect we give to others, the more we will be respected. We can show our respect by listening, asking questions and showing an interest in other people’s opinions.
Respect yourself if you would have others respect you.” Baltasar Gracian
4. Be quick to praise people.
Praise is one of our basic needs, and the more we praise people, the more committed and productive they will be. When we praise, it needs to be timely, specific and sincere. We should start by praising small things, as it’s small successes that ultimately lead to big successes.
5. Be humble.
Being humble is about admitting when you make mistakes, apologizing when you get things wrong, and giving up the need to be right all the time. When we do that it shows that it’s not all about us, that we are not in it just for the personal glory, but for the greater good.
6. Be emotionally aware.
Leadership is all about the people, and the more emotionally aware we are, the better and stronger the connections we can make. People want to be connected; they want to feel that they are working with us, not for us. When we can achieve that, then people feel more involved, and when they feel they are involved, they become more committed.
7. Be bold.
It’s bold goals that inspire people, not small goals, and leadership is all about inspiring others. We all want to achieve amazing results, so be bold, set the bar high and go for it.
“Fortune favours the bold.” Virgil
8. Be transparent.
Being transparent is about being open and honest in everything we do. It’s about having no hidden agendas. When we are honest, people understand what we are doing why we are doing it, and this helps us to be seen as authentic, and authenticity is key to being a good leader.
If no one is following you then it doesn’t matter what it says on your business card, you’re not a leader. People follow leaders that they trust; who are inspiring, who are authentic and who get things done.
If you follow the eight ways every man can become a leader, you will become a leader that people follow because they want to, not just because they have to.
Photo: Flickr/ Scottish Resilience Development Service