is a good leader? Perhaps it is best
thought of as having the ability to inspire followers. You may initially obtain followers due to
recognition or persuasion, and you may then exert a little influence to retain them,
but ultimately they will have to trust you to stay with you. Can you learn how to be a good leader? Yes!
be authentic. Communicate clearly and
often. People will respect you for this,
and they will reply in kind. When you
give your word, keep it and begin building a foundation of trust. Make meaningful relationships --- some day,
they may be all you have!
be the example you want to see in others.
I often think about the words penned by my eldest son many years ago as
punishment for throwing a temper tantrum on the ball field one evening (I asked
him to write down what he thought it took to have a successful game):
takes having fun. It takes skill to do
what your coach says. Don’t make
unnecessary throws. If there’s a play
you can’t make leave it to the other guy.
If you can’t use the bat you’re given, get another bat. Try and do your best. Don’t get mad. Don’t hold the ball. Don’t throw your glove. When you steal home feel good about it. When you hit the ball feel good about
it. When you screw up a play don’t be
mad at the team or yourself. Feel good
about yourself when you make an out.
Don’t spoil the game for everybody.
Never quit just because you get mad.
When you make a home run feel good about it. If you have missed a play and the coach comes
out, don’t [make excuses and] say you don’t want to play where you’re playing.”
Sometimes people follow you because of what you do,
or what they think you will do. They
want to be part of success, and may sense that you have attained it.
embrace risk, because with it often comes great reward. Shortly after he turned twenty, my eldest son
determined that it was both honorable and an exercise of peer leadership to
enter the Marine Corps. After two
promotions and several commendations during his first year, he volunteered to
go to Iraq. Observing his journey, I have some new
beliefs. Leadership is risk, and it is
reward. Leadership can put you in
seemingly untenable situations, but it can leave you the better for it. Leadership can cause you to question the very
heart of your resolve, but in the end your convictions and perseverance about
doing the right things for the right reasons will always prove the best course.
help and respect others. Why is this
important? I think helping others makes
loyalty possible. Respecting others lies
at the very heart of diversity. Discover
the whole person and you will find common ground, mutual respect, and engender
more trust. Discover the whole person
and you will find other leaders, too, and you can then cultivate their success
along with your own. As John Maxwell
said, “The more people you develop, the greater the extent of your dreams.”
exercise self-discipline. Take the time to download a free copy of the John
Maxwell book Developing the Leader
Within You. Maxwell counsels
that the singular price tag of leadership is self-discipline. He says “discipline …is the choice of
achieving what you really want by doing things you don’t really want to
do. After successfully doing this for
some time, discipline becomes the choice of achieving what you really want by
doing things you now want to do!” I can
attest that this is true. Once you
commit to a life of leadership, it will define you and your results so quickly
that you will never want to be anything less.
we fear leadership. We don’t want to
play. In fact, some of you have heard me
say “if I can’t win, I don’t want to play”.
I’d like to explain this philosophy.
The difference between playing to win and playing for any other purpose
(like not losing!) is the difference between success and mediocrity. Leading is playing to win. Always.
your leadership arena, set your standards high and exercise the discipline
necessary to achieve your goals with authenticity, unflagging effort, and the
resolve to collaborate with and respect others.
This kind of discipline always results in good will, better decisions,
and great leadership, the marks of a 21st century organization and
the kind of leadership I intentionally strive to deliver. And, for those of you
who are already established leaders, take your development one step further and
qualify as a Global Board Ready Woman
through TIAW. The world is starved for
the balancing leadership skills of women.
Won’t you step in?