True or False – Only a select few people can be real leaders? False!
Anyone can be a leader. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes – there’s no Prototype. Leaders are all around us – we have to look for them. Leaders are in each of us – we have to discover them inside us.
But if anyone can be a Leader, does that mean we’re automatically Leaders? Nope.
Let’s start by trying to define Leaders and what makes a Leader.
Does a Job Title Make a Leader?
The “CEO, CXO, Head of X, Manager of X, Team Lead, etc.” job title does not make you a Leader. It’s just a job title that puts in you a position to make decisions and gives you an opportunity to lead. Whether or not you are a Leader is up to you. You could just be a Manager and you’re managing the team, a department, or even the whole company. That’s being a Manager. Being a Leader is different. Team members follow Leaders and will go out of their way sometimes to support the Leader in reaching their collective goals. Team members don’t do that simply because of a job title.
Does an Ivy League School Diploma Make a Leader?
The school you went to does not make you a Leader. Harvard Business School does not make you a Leader. Being able to attend Harvard only means you’re smart enough or have a good enough connection to have gone to Harvard. Leadership isn’t just about having straight A’s and the book smarts to go to a great school. What you do at the school, how you take advantage of the resources the school gives you, how you work with classmates – all that and more are the ingredients to becoming a Leader.
Where Are Leaders? Who are Leaders?
Leaders are everywhere. Think about the people around you. Who do you consider leaders and why? What is it about them that makes you consider them a leader?
Here’s an exercise. Make a list of the different traits of these people and what you think makes them leaders. Make lists for different people. What are the common traits amongst the different people you listed? Look at the similarities. Then look at the differences. The differences are what make each Leader unique.
What you should see out of the exercise is that there are some common leadership traits. But there are also some unique traits that make each Leader different in their own way.
Did their job title or what school they went to determine your decision to list them? Did you list a person because people listen to them when they talk? Is it because they’re able to bring people together to reach a common goal? Is it because they’re supportive of others?
Remember, there’s no “Prototype” of a Leader. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Each Leader is unique and there’s one in each of us.
What Are Core Key Leadership Traits?
There are many leadership traits in my eyes. Many of them are in the soft skills and the way that encourages others to follow them. Some of those traits include topics like communication, accountability, empathy, decision-making, trust, and having fun. Leaders don’t always have all the traits and part of what it means to be a Leader is to be self-aware. Knowing your own strengths, as well as your flaws.
Self-Awareness is Key
The only way to know your strengths and flaws is to take a look in the mirror, day-in and day-out. After you talk to people, take a few minutes to think about how the conversation went. Did you get what you wanted out of the conversation? Do you feel that you were able to influence the other person? Do you feel that you got across the points that you wanted and in the way that you wanted?
The Other Person’s Point-of-View
Thinking about the result of conversations from your point-of-view is important for self-awareness. But more important is the other person’s point-of-view. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they thought about the conversation. Look for clues in their facial expressions, body language, and how they would reply. This is all part of the work that will help you discover how you’re coming across to others.
This is empathy – a core leadership trait.
I’m not going to lie. Empathy is not easy. Empathy means slowing down and trying to understand things from another person’s point-of-view. If you want to be a Leader, you have to understand what motivates the people you want to lead. What makes them tick? What are their own goals? Are you helping and supporting them accomplish those goals?
That’s a big one – are you helping and supporting them in reaching their goals, big or small?
That’s what Leaders do. Leaders support others and because people feel supported, they’re going to do what they can to work together and be led. Not to worry though, because this can all be learned with practice. Start with talking to family and friends. Ask them how they perceive you. Ask them if they feel supported by you and if they feel they can always count on your help. The people who know you best are the ones you want to go to first. They’ll also give you honest feedback. Going to coworkers and anyone you manage can be influenced by office politics, so you’ll want to try and stay away.
Discover the Leader in You
My goal with this site is to help you discover the Producer inside you. That also means to discover the Leader inside you. And to discover the Entrepreneur inside you because they all go hand-in-hand. As you start discovering the Producer / Entrepreneur / Leader in you, you’ll start seeing that you’re achieving those goals that you’re striving for. Those goals are no longer out of reach they’re getting ever so close.
Leaders are needed now more than ever during times of crisis. I write about leading during a crisis here. I also wrote a post on financial survival tips for entrepreneurs and small business owners during a crisis the COVID-19 pandemic over here. Whether you’re working from home or back in the office, it’s important to be a leader for your team.
To help discover the Leader, Entrepreneur, and Producer in you, go read this post giving 8 tips to Discover the Producer in You. There’s also a free downloadable PDF. It’s about discovering who you are and giving yourself the opportunity to continue exploring who you are. No one has it figured out 100%. We all have ideas of who we are, but we all have many layers to each of us that make up who we are.
I wrote this eBook titled How to Be a Great Leader and it included 21 key tips to set the foundational base for anyone to learn how to be a great leader. I’m currently updating the next version of it, but for now, please enjoy the beginning of the —
How to be a Great Leader – eBook
So … you want to be a Great Leader?
I hope you said YES!
Before you can even start taking steps to becoming a great leader, you must want to be a great leader.
Are great leaders born with “it”? Yes
The good news is that YOU are born with it – there’s a great leader inside of you already! I believe anyone can be a leader and it’s already in all of us, so yes, leaders are born with it. You may not see it yet, but it’s there. You just have to discover that leader and bring it out.
Will the leader in you come out overnight? No
Like many other things in life, you have to work at being a leader. These tips will take you out of your comfort zone, but the more you practice, the better you’ll become.
Are all leaders CEOs? No
Are all CEOs leaders? No
A CEO is considered the “leader” of a company, yes, but “CEO” is only a job title. Job titles don’t make you a leader. A job title only tells people that this person with the “CEO” title has the opportunity to be a real leader in the company. This person then needs to seize the opportunity and go be the leader through actions and behaviors.
For this eBook, I’ll concentrate on how to be a leader at work, but these same principles absolutely apply to being leaders at home. If you ever want to visit these principles at home and can’t figure out how, feel free to contact me on my website1!
At work, at home or anywhere else – Leaders are neither limited by location, nor defined by location.
Leaders are everywhere.
There’s more in the eBook – How to be a Great Leader. Sign up to the email list below to download your own copy of the eBook.
Only a select few people can be real leaders? False!
Real Leaders are all around us and not for a select few. Anyone can be a Leader.
1. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes – there’s no Prototype
2. Leaders are all around us – we have to look for them
3. Leaders are in each of us – we have to discover them inside us