“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
– John C. Maxwell
Be the Leader of Your Life
Becoming a leader means taking full responsibility for my life.
In my early 20s, I was a follower devoted to society’s formula for success and happiness seeking comfort. The recipe was a step-by-step guide to having a “successful” and problem-free life.
All I had to do was to obey the script.
However, despite obtaining everything that society wanted me to have, I lacked fulfillment and happiness.
To find my answer, I went on a long self-discovery journey to find myself. After rocking the boat and challenging the status quo, I started taking initiative and worked on goals that I’ve created for myself.
That’s when I became the leader of my life.
After discovering my core values, I envisioned myself living a congruent life aligned with my beliefs while contributing to a greater cause that’s bigger than myself. Every skill and talent that I acquire need to be paid forward and given back to the community.
By leading my life, I only did the important things that brought my vision closer to reality. Regardless what my results were, I was always in control of my feelings and behaviors to external events.
Instead of being a victim and reacting to life, I became the creator of my own destiny. In addition to becoming a leader for myself, I have also become a leader for others.
Create a Positive and Powerful Vision for Yourself and Others
Without a strong and positive vision, others will have an extremely difficult time working with you. That’s because they won’t believe the work they’re doing is worthwhile and meaningful.
For them to do great work, they must believe their contribution is bringing them closer to achieving a goal and vision.
To become a great leader, you must have a compelling vision that evokes motivation and conviction in your team. With your aspiring mission, you create S-M-A-R-T goals by challenging the status quo to bring your vision into reality.
As a result, your team members know their exact responsibilities for achieving each manageable and realistic goals.
Enabling Trust Is the Foundation of Great Leadership
Trust is the paramount quality of strong and thriving leadership because people don’t want to work for someone who they don’t trust.
Here are some behaviors that do not display trust.
- Not telling the entire story
- Lacking transparency
- Acting or speaking disrespectfully
The simple act of not being completely honest on even the small issues, you are sub-communicating to others that you’re also susceptible to lying to them about the important matters.
Therefore, distrust is the number one-killer in destroying relationships.
Now understanding the importance of having trust, you can torpedo more of it by:
- Communicating effectively
- Being honest
- Setting clear expectations
- Under-promising and over-delivering
- Making others’ priorities your priorities
The above acts translate to delivering news in a timely manner even though you may not have all the information. For the reason that it’s better for your others to know partially now instead of delaying the news for more information and keeping them in the dark.
Among all the ways to build trust, leading by example is by far the best.
Following through your words with action, you hold yourself accountable. This in return lets others know that you’re a man of character who lives with integrity. With clear communication of expectations, you can persuade others to hold themselves accountable since you also do that for yourself.
Because your team members are your greatest asset, you treat their priorities as your priorities. As a result, they will believe what’s important to them is also important to you.
For example, if your employees need extra time to meet a project deadline because of the client’s last-minute changes. Then you must speak with senior management and ask for more time to complete the project.
This shows that you genuinely care about your team’s needs.
Trust takes time to build, but it only takes seconds to break. Therefore, ensure you’re always building trust with your team.
Great Leadership Demonstrates Genuineness and Fairness
Paragon great leaders genuinely care and are fair in their treatment for everyone.
Great leaders who genuinely care show their:
- Genuine interest
- Active listening skills with appropriate action
- Curiosity and feelings
- Encouragement for work/life balance
- Gratitude for leading others
In practicality, you take time out of your life to engage and care for your others.
There’s no such thing as not having time. If you truly care, then you’ll make the time. Your team members will appreciate your genuineness and reciprocate with higher levels of productivity and quality of work.
Treating everyone with fairness, great leaders:
- Are consistent with their behavior, expectations, and decisions
- Praise in public while criticize in private
- Give deserving credit to the team
- Support their team during honest mistakes
- Treat everyone with respect and expects everyone to do the same
- Create an encouraging environment where success is achievable
Having fairness doesn’t mean you must treat everyone equally. For the reason that some of your team members may need more time from you to help them develop a particular skill.
However, your level of commitment to each of your team member’s success and growth is the same.
Increased loyalty and engagement are some benefits of treating your team with fairness. As a result, you’ll have higher revenue and happier team members who enjoy working with you.
A truly great leader has a positive vision for himself and his team. In addition, he listens carefully because he doesn’t know everything.
Having the ability to learn something new from everyone, he remains humble and curious. Valuing growth, great leaders appreciate and openly accepts constructive feedback. By doing so, they can take the necessary steps to improve and become better leaders.
Despite not being in a formal leadership position, you’re always the leader of your life. That’s because you’re responsible for everything that happens in your life.
What vision do you have for yourself?
How do you want your life to look like in five years? What about ten years from now?
You’re the only person that can make that vision into a reality. Lead with action, you will attract others who reciprocate. In return, you will bond and travel together on the journey.
On the path of greatness, you will inspire those around you to unlock their fullest potential.
In addition to being a great leader, you’re also a great follower of people who inspire you to do great things. It means you have an open mind to try new things and achieve different results.
Now realizing the power to lead your life, how will you lead it?
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