June 5, 2003.
"Life is like a dogsled team. If you aint the lead dog, the scenery never changes."
If there is one quality that is in desperately short supply nowadays, it is leadership. Oh sure, there are plenty of bosses, managers and supervisors running around all over the place. But finding a true leader among the pack is another story altogether.
Contrary to what many seem to believe, leadership in every day action is not a matter of barking out orders and telling others what to do. Not even remotely close. And its certainly not overpowering those you associate with either. Thats called being a bully, not a leader. While there does need to be someone in charge and that generally requires that somebody grab the ball and run with it, a real leader doesnt feel the need to hammer his or her troops into submission. Far from it.
"Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy."
A leader leads by the example he or she brings to the table. If leadership is about any one trait or common denominator, it would have to be character. True leadership revolves around the ability to motivate people, helping them to do even better than they themselves believed they could do. A bonafide leader is able to build an all for one, all for one approach by forging an unbreakable, unshakable bond within the team.
The capacity to bring out the very best of those around you is the true calling card of a leader. And that calling card could very well be your ticket to the top. For deep within you, whether you realize it or not, stirs the heartbeat of a natural born leader.
"Leadership is the ability of a single individual through his or her actions to motivate others to higher levels of achievement."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had this to say about leadership: "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being." Therein lies the time tested secret of leadership; being able to help people maximize their God given potential. When you begin seeing others as they could be and then help them become what they would be, you in turn become the leader that you should be.
"Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average."
Im sure youre familiar with the adage that goes, "Lead, follow or get out of the way." Which of the three routes will you take?
Will you be a follower, depending on others to give you direction and tell you what to do? Doesnt sound like a whole lot of fun, does it?
Or will you choose to be one who aimlessly ambles through life, without a sense of direction or purpose? If you do, youll forever be forced to get out of the way or get trampled by the real movers and shakers. That doesnt sound any better, does it?
"The great leaders are like the best conductors they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players."
Since youre going to have to choose anyway, and chances are good that youre not real hot on getting run over or marching to someone elses tune, why not choose to lead? By constantly finding ways to bring out the very best in others, youll soon find yourself leading the way. And there's one more bonus. As lead dog, youll get a nice change of scenery as well.
The Bottom Line: The first step in being a leader is to start thinking, acting and talking like one.
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