What are the qualities of a great leader, you ask? Well, this is my opinion. There are lots of things people go on about. Who’s a leader? Are you a leader? We all need to be a leader, everyone needs to be a leader, and that’s probably good. Everyone should be able to be there and collaborate with their peers, their staff members, and everyone. You shouldn’t just be a leader in one area; you should be a leader across all areas. You should be a leader in your life, a leader with your wife, a leader with your kids, but probably not a leader when you get in strife, that wouldn’t work. But, a leader is just someone who people look up to, and that’s what you’ve just got to remember. It doesn’t mean what everyone thinks it means. I couldn’t find a leader on the topic of being a leader. I had to take from my own personal experience.
What Is a Leader
A leader is someone you can go to for advice and who understands when they’re wrong. Leaders are happy to teach you anything and everything, and understand that if you did something wrong, they’ll help you through it. They don’t point fingers and say, ‘Oh, you did that wrong!’ They ask, ‘So, do you like the outcome?’ If you say, ‘Yes,’ they say, ‘Do you think we could have done this any way differently?’
Leaders step around the situation, in a sense, to make sure that the person that is doing the task is learning and not just being reprimanded and put into a box. If people are learning, and they’re learning from you in a way that is positive, they’ll remember that a lot more easily. Negative reinforcement is bad; you shouldn’t be doing that. You should be making sure you’re a leader in your field and with your family.
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You Need Experience
Experience was once described to me as that you can never call yourself truly experienced unless you’ve broken and failed at whatever you’re doing more times than everyone else. That is what gives you God level in the experience off of whatever things you’re learning. You’ve got to learn to stuff up. You can’t just be told no, people have to try and stuff up for themselves sometimes.
If you’re jumping into a school situation, if there’s a student that’s having trouble doing something, try and find out how he or she is going about learning that, and you’ll be able to use that information to jump ahead as well, and see, okay, it makes sense the way they’ve got to this conclusion. Let’s try and introduce this other bit of knowledge. You can use things such as Khan Academy or pair them up with another of the student in the class to allow for them to thrive, and relay off each other’s positives and negatives.
Ultimately, you need to be a leader. You need to be able to show that you have the ability to see problems like that, take those problems, and turn them into positives. There are so many things that I’ve stuffed up within business. I’m lucky enough to have been in business for 19 years, so I’ve been around long enough to understand that I’ve stuffed them up, but I’ve also fixed them up. I understand how they are not meant to work, and how they don’t work, and how they do work. That’s a great situation to be in. Being able to learn from experiences is great, being able to pass that information on is great and being able to be there to teach people is great.
Documenting Is Vital
Document processes and show people that they can read this document, but also let them know that it’s not set in stone. You are only one mind and one person from one perspective. That’s the other great trait of leaders. It’s not my way or the highway. All of the information and people and processes all flower because of that. They all mature and become much, much better, and then they become owned, which is really important.
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Ownership of a situation is great. If you have employees that are able to own a situation, they will make sure it’s taken care of. If they’re able to say, ‘This is something I put in place,’ they’re going to be happy to make sure it stays working, and that’s a great thing as well. Because it’s not just, ‘Oh, I’m just doing it because I was told to.’ They’re doing it because they have now enjoyed doing it, and that they’ve made this thing theirs, so they don’t wanna see anyone else break it. It goes throughout all aspects of work.
Not Everyone Has to Be a Leader
Being a leader is important, and anyone can become a leader. We hear some people say, ‘Oh, they’re a natural born leader.’ Yeah, maybe. Maybe they are; maybe they’re not. But, knowing if you are or not, or the traits that you have, is really important. Jumping the line, doing a Myers-Briggs test, finding out where you sit, what your strengths are, and what your weaknesses are.
There’s a book from Larry Little called Make a Difference, and it goes through and discusses a different perspective for every person throughout your business, and how they relate to animals. So you have these lions, which are normally the leaders of the pack, and then you have turtles, which are slower at doing things, but very, very detail-oriented.
What my point is, whatever the situation is, if you know what you are, you can then know how you can act and what you can become like. Understanding that, if you are a turtle, and you want to act like a lion, you can. Just know that you’re a turtle, and know that the details are very important to you when you’re looking at things, and when you’re going through the process of things. So know that when you’re delegating a task to someone, if they’re also a turtle, they’re going to respect the same work as you. If they’re a monkey, and they’re going all around the place and changing things up and working on 15 projects, know that they may not do the work the way that you anticipated it being done. It might be 90% done and done 10 times faster, but you might have to dish that to the turtle for the other 10%.
The Final Word
Have a bit of a think about it because being a good leader and having those skills to be able to see the types of people and communicate with them will make an environment and an ecosystem that’s very comfortable to work with. You’ll be able to chat with everyone and know what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, and what you need to actively focus on to become a leader. Make sure that you aren’t getting caught up in the details that you know are important to you but might not be important to others. Just make sure you continue teaching, learning and understanding.
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