Deep down I believe we are all leaders. Now, for some it may be a little deeper than others. You know there are people who leading seems to come naturally, right? Then there are others who struggle with doubt in their abilities to lead. Which one are you? Or do you fall someplace in the middle. I will admit, depending on the situation I can fall in either category.
The truth is, the only qualification for being a leader is “you make decisions which influence other people”. Yup, it is as simple as it comes. Since we are all leaders, we might as well work on being a great ones, right?
The key to becoming a great leader is not to focus on becoming “a great leader” but to focus on whether or not you are someone worth following. This can apply to anywhere you are a leader – our home, your job, your community or in your own business.
Every since Andy Andrews was a speaker at Thirty One’s National Conference, I have been diving into his books and his ideas. He says there are THREE key qualities of someone who is worth following and they are:
1. They are truly transparent
This seems to be the new “buzz word” in the business world. Being transparent means you always take ownership of your mistakes and shortcomings in front of the people you’re leading. You don’t pretend to be perfect and you admit when you’re wrong. I am definitely transparent!
A truly good leader will also know the difference between a mistake and a bad choice. Do you know the difference? A mistake is something accidentally done, but with good intentions. A bad choice is something purposely done. I tend to make more mistakes than I do bad choices although when it came to my addictions I would have to say it was more bad choices.
Knowing how to handle the consequences of both by being transparent builds your followers’ loyalty. When people understand your thinking and see you are human, they will want to follow you.
2. They know how to get back on track
Leaders along with their followers make mistakes and poor choices. A great leader will know how to get not only themselves but also their followers back on track when they are negatively affected by a mistake or bad choice.
Leaders can shift perspective back to the big picture when things go wrong. Leaders remain calm in the face of confusion and crisis. When we are transparent, followers feel safe coming to us with their own mistakes and bad choices.
3. They take advantage of teachable moments.
To remain a leader and help people grow, great leaders take advantage of opportunities to teach. Don’t we do this as parents?
How many times have we let our “bad mood” handle a situation inappropriately? The end result is not good and usually leads to a screaming match, right? How often have you used a moment like this to be transparent with your kids.
As a single mom who was a recovering addict, I needed to acknowledge my bad choices and ask forgiveness. If it was just a mistake, a simple apology worked to make things right. If I made a bad choice, I didn’t wait to be transparent. I easily shared what was happening with me and the fact it was no excuse for how inappropriately I had acted. I will admit, many thought I shared way too much with my young daughter BUT it always strengthened our relationship. The valuable teaching moments rarely occured at convenient times. So, it meant stopping what I was doing, checking my emotions, and taking a sharp detour. Great leaders seize teachable moments, whether they’re inconvenient and uncomfortable.
It is easy to focus on ourselves when we think about effective leadership but it can be overwhelming at time. So, shy not shift from a “ME” perspective to an outward focus.
- Who stands to gain from my improved leadership?
- How will my leadership help those following me?
- How would a steady, calm presence of leadership make those around me become more effective?
Picture those people in your mind—your family members, your co-workers, your employees, or whomever else you might be leading. They will give you all the motivation you need to become someone worth following.
Who do you follow? Picture one of those leaders from your own life, right now. What did they do to make you want to follow them?
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!