The first three superhuman abilities that we’ve talked about or about your ability to grow yourself.
Leadership is there about your ability to grow others.
While the first three skills will allow you to accomplish a great number of things on your own, only through leadership can you move mountains? Your ability, or inability to lead others, manage conflict, or create alignment around a common purpose, is the true measure of your life’s potential. One cannot possibly accomplish as much alone as they could in numbers.
Leadership is a natural phenomenon that exists in humans and another in species. To paraphrase what Simon Sinek talks about in his book Leaders Eat Last: the leader is given the privilege of being paid deference and is entitled to a larger share of the spoils of the group in exchange for their willingness to assume a larger share of the group’s burden, and responsibility for their protection and safety. It’s part of the unspoken contract.
To be a leader, you do not need to be the strongest, or the smartest, or the tallest, or the prettiest. To be a leader you need to be able to inspire others to follow you to your destination and take ownership in the realization of your vision.
The BIG Question
It’s time to decide. Are you a leader?
It’s a simple question.
There is no quiz you can take to answer this question but the answer is easy to find. It is only a decision. Leadership is just a choice.
Even if you are thrust into a leadership role, if you do not consciously decide to be a leader, you will be nothing more than someone with a title.
You’re not reading this post because you want to become a leader. You should be reading this because you want to improve on what’s already there.
So, before any of this will matter, you have to answer the question: are you a leader?
Assuming that you are, the next thing you might wonder is: well, how do I do that?
There are many schools of thought around leadership, and no shortage of different leadership philosophies. In fact, there isn’t even agreement around how many styles of leadership there even are. I’ve seen everything from 4 to 18.
Many of these different styles are simply nuanced versions of a different style of leadership, or styles specific to very particular circumstances. It’s natural for analysts and academics to over-analyze and over-complicate things. It does give us a deeper understanding of how people operate and allow us to peer into what works best in different scenarios. However, for people, especially young people moving into leadership roles, all of this information can be overwhelming. It’s needlessly complex.
Read an article or two and you’ll be wondering whether you should be:
- Command and control
So, let’s simplify it…
While there’s more than enough material on the subject of leadership to write an entire book (pre-order my book The Lovable Leader now…free digital copy for Superhero Institute Members), much of what you need to know can be distilled down to a handful of straightforward principles.
Here are the important leadership ideas we’ll cover today:
- The Leadership Mindset
- Words & Actions
- Vision and Purpose
Your Leadership Mindset
You first need to set your mind right. You must understand that you are not entitled to leadership, no matter what circumstance you were born into or what your title is. This is because leadership is not a title. You are only a leader in so much as someone is willing to be led by you.
In order for that to happen, they need to trust you, respect you, and be unified and aligned with your vision. You will not be prepared to lead until you understand this truth.
Leadership is your responsibility, your burden, and your privilege.
Whether you are a tyrant, an angel, or a lovable leader, the path of leadership will never be easy. Leadership will be difficult at times. You will struggle against your deeply ingrained instincts and habits. This is why it is important for you to understand this fact right now.
- Leadership is your responsibility.
- Leadership is your privilege.
- Leadership is your burden.
It is always all three. From my experience and every great leader I’ve met or read about, I believe that to be a great leader you must live this as your truth. Once you understand this, you will be ready to take ownership of your role as a leader.
Words and Actions
As a leader, you, more than anyone, must be thoughtful in your choice of words. You must be discerning in how you frame your ideas, how you position your feedback, and how your words communicate the way relate to your team members.
Your actions are a signal to your team about what you value, what you will tolerate/permit, and how you perceive yourself in the context of the group.
In both your words and your actions, be generous with your acknowledgment both in your praise and call to accountability. Be honest and transparent, as these are the underpinnings of trust. Become a master of empathy, which will deepen your understanding of others helping you to build bridges instead of burning them.
How you handle adversity and conflict will likely be your defining moments in leadership. Anyone can lead somewhat effectively when everything is running smoothly. It’s when the pressure is applied that people show their true colors. This is where a leader is needed most.
Finally, vision and purpose
A leader has many variables to consider:
Above all else, the purpose is the element that can cause a human to go beyond their believed limitations and think bigger. The purpose is what awakens our dreams and gives us the fuel for immortality.
A leader that inspires us, does so not because they present a mediocre plan to maintain the status quo, but because they connect with our reasons to exist, our desire for impact, and our dreams for the future.
Therefore, as a leader your goals must be big, your belief unyielding, and your resolve unbreakable.
It doesn’t stop there
As I said there’s far more to cover here than is possible or advisable in a single post. I encourage You to pre-order my book The Lovable Leader. When it comes out I will send you a signed copy, But while you wait for that, here’s where to go next…
The following are just a few books that I strongly advise you to read if you wish to become a better leader.
Ultra-Learning by Scott H. Young
Ultra-Learning is a methodology for learning more rapidly and more thoroughly. Scott goes through a multitude of examples of people who have learned an immense amount of information in a very short period of time.
Scott is well known for passing the M.I.T. Computer Science curriculum on his own. He didn't attend, he put himself through the entire program himself. Learn from what he's seen studying his own process and other ultra-learners.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Looking to build new habits? Maybe you want to break some bad habits?
This is the book for you.
Unlimited Memory by Grandmaster Kevin Horsley
Did you know that YOU have an amazing memory? You may not think so but the truth is, you just haven't trained yourself. If you want to be more creative, train your memory.
The tricks and tactics in this book will help you.
Good luck on your leadership journey, and should you decide you need some additional help in this area, please shoot me an email [email protected]
Jeff Gibbard, Lovable Leader
Ready For The Next Lesson?
:: Realizing ::