Can You Call Yourself a Leader? (525 words)
During any era, especially these tumultuous times, some leaders fail to lead; and elsewhere, leaders emerge. Leading in good times is so much easier than leading in difficult times where the leaders’ mettle is tried. In leading others, rather than being about authority, it should be more about inspiration. Every leader in these times must ask him or herself, “Do I inspire those around me?”
Leadership, at the forefront is about trust; getting others to trust and believe in you, your abilities, and vision. Below are some steps you can take to better help you to emerge as a true leader in these times:
- To call yourself a leader, you must convince others that you have a vision. Your vision must be crystal clear to yourself and others, and must ring true so those you lead feel safe in following you.
- To call yourself a leader, you must convince others that you have the knowledge, skills, and tools at your ready that will enable you to deliver. Just having a clear and purposeful vision is not enough. Having the tools necessary to deliver the implementation of your vision is just as crucial. Your people must believe to the depths of their souls that you have what it takes to make things happen.
- To call yourself a leader, you must convince others to let you take hold of the steering wheel for the time necessary to move your vision into action. Without someone steering, nobody gets anywhere. For too many, the decision of indecision is their preferred strategy. That does not work in leading an organization through the land mines of today’s globally volatile economy but rather definitive action is needed. Any if you are going to call yourself a leader, take definitive actions.
- To call yourself a leader, you must help others to imagine how your vision will result in helping to make their lives better. Nobody wants to make their life worse. However, it is your job as a leader to help those you lead to see the light, the glimmering light of hope through ultimate actions. As you inspire your organization to be better, to do better, through your own personal actions. They are “listening” to what you “do” more than listening to what you say. Be the example of what’s right, rather then embody the problem.
- Celebrate every milestone on the way. As you steer your organization toward your vision, have milestone markers set up along the way and be sure to celebrate every marker reached. This helps those in your organization to viscerally realize that the organization is moving toward the intended vision.
Leading others is about building a trusting relationship with them; they have to trust your direction, strategy, and implementation tactics. Trust is the most powerful relationship glue on earth. To call yourself a leader you must earn trust; trust is not bestowed upon you based on title, position, or any other outward trappings. Nor is trust instant but rather an accumulation of all that you say and do. You must keep your word in all aspects; actions, rewards, and penalties—otherwise your word is only partially valid which actually translates to: no trust. Say what you are going to do, do what you say, and say what you did—therein are found your successful leadership strategy.