Everyone is a leader. Whether you are young or old, leading a large group, a small group of employees, your family, or just yourself, we all are leaders. The principles outlined here are for everyone, despite your age or your position.
Great leaders have the heart of a servant and leads others with the wisdom of humility, and the grace of leading beyond themselves. In other words, a good leader will lead past what's good for themselves and will lead the group or organization, and the individuals, to a space where it serves the needs of those individuals. Leading is a privilege, not a birthright, and therefore it should be embraced as an opportunity to serve others, so that it inspires people to pass it forward. If you lead with the heart of a servant, quiet strength and peace of mind will follow.
Here are 9 ways you can be a leader that influences others do their best:
1. Lead with Integrity. The most important trait of a good leader is INTEGRITY. Take care of people with honesty, and a high sense of undivided and consistent moral character, and you will thrive as a leader.
2. Contain your ego. You are only as smart as your last decision! You are not the center of attention and not the most important person in the world. You just happen to be a person that God allowed to string together more life changing good choices than life changing bad choices. Embrace humility.
3. Give. Give. Give. Giving is living. Take a piece of what you make, or a service that you offer, and make it a part of your life philosophy to regularly give to those less fortunate. You will grow as a person, your leadership abilities will grow, and people will be blessed! Always lead with the notions of: Who can I help and How can I help them? It could be donations, tithing, pro bono work, or anything else to help those in need.
4. Know Your Stuff. Be a Subject Matter Expert. Don't take shortcuts. Read, study, learn, and learn some more. People like to follow knowledgeable people. If you want to be seen as a leader, be a lifelong learner who knows the ins and outs of whatever it is you are supposed to know. Get in the weeds, study when others aren't studying, read the latest research, and know your stuff. Nothing is worse then a leader that has no knowledge!
5. Don’t over complicate things. Stick to the fundamentals and be efficient. For example: If you own a business, stick to the basic universal principles of business - make a profit, get a return on capital investments, streamline processes for scale-ability and continual growth, hire the right people, and take good care of your customers. You don't have to muddy the waters with everything else that don't help the bottom line. Don't change for the sake of change. Don't innovate just for the sake of saying "I'm innovating". People respect leaders who streamline, not cloud with complexity!
6. Manage time like a fanatic. Your most valuable asset is your time. Practice being fanatical and measured about your time. Make daily to do list, assign time to each task and commit to it, mark off items as you complete them for a sense of accomplishment, build in some daily prayer reading and R&R, and treat your time with more reverence then money. We all have the same amount of time every day. You absolutely will not flourish or reach your full potential, as a leader, until you practice the art of managing your time more efficiently. In life and in business, don't waste precious time and important energy, getting angry with people who do not have the ability, or the desire, to give you what you want or need, when you want or need it. Managing your time as a leader, is knowing when and how to move on!!
7. Hold your tongue. The absence of a response to ignorance is usually the most effective response to ignorance. Ignorance relies heavily on the attention and energy we give it, so the less attention you give it as a leader, the less traction it gains. With that said, let me be clear: as a leader, you also must practice addressing ignorance with tact, without anger or wrath, and in a responsible manner accompanied by measured compassion. As a leader, some of your biggest challenges will be knowing when and how to ignore ignorance, and refusing participation! The ability to "hold your tongue", as a leader, will propel you.
8. Choose words carefully. As a leader, your words have tremendous power. Practice speaking life into situations, because what you say, not only affects your listeners, but also affects you. Whenever you are given an audience, choose your words carefully. When you master the art of telling the truth with kindness, decorum, and tact, then the power of your words can truly add value and quality to the lives of those you lead.
9. Handle failure. You will make mistakes and you will fail. We all do. Failure should only be allowed to serve two purposes in your life. 1) make you wiser. 2) make you stronger. If you experience failure, feel free to be disappointed for a few minutes. After those few minutes are up, you must then learn from it and grow from it. Leadership requires resiliency, level headedness, and an even keel. You can't get too high and you can't get to low. Remember, there is always something better waiting for you around the corner. A good leader has the tough conversations with those they are leading. Sometimes, those tough conversations are with yourself!
Remember, everyone is a leader. Whether you are a parent who leads a family, a leader on your job, a business owner, or a lone wolf...you are leading someone! Always lead with the right heart to serve others, follow these 9 pieces of advice, forge your way into your leadership regimen, and strive to be your best!!