We all have heard the debate about can leaders be made. There are lots of people out there that are making a pretty good living helping teach leadership to folks. There are plenty of self help books and blogs (mine too!) that are there to help people become better leaders. You can spend lot of time and money to get help! My path has been no different than anyone else’s. I have put in lots of time learning and practicing my craft. I feel, that formalized training is a good path to go, but you still have to put in the work! Experience is the best teacher, if you are willing to reflect and learn from every situation.
Some of the most critical lesson’s that I have learned while putting in the work are:
Great leaders don’t always do the right thing even when people are looking: Part of being a leader is being human. We all make mistakes. Great leaders stand up and own up to their mistakes. The better part of that great leader is they learn from and make sure not to make that same mistake again. You want to be a great leader? You have to be willing to own and learn from your mistakes.
Leadership is hard: No matter if you have been leading for years or have just been promoted recently. Leading others is hard. I was told this from the very beginning, but I should have multiplied those words by the nth power. Think about it, when you are responsible for others you have a lot more than can and will go wrong. You want to be a great leader? You have to be a life-long learner. You can never just rest on what you think you know.
You will not be able to lead everyone: I have yet to come across any good or great leader that told me that they did not have struggles with certain people. You just will not connect and lead everyone in every group. For me, I really work well with those folks that want to accomplish whatever needs to get done. I struggle leading those folks that are afraid to get started. They struggle without having all of the information or just are dreaming of a better way before getting started. I have to adjust my starting to make sure that we have covered everything up front. You want to be a great leader? You have to be willing to delegate or adjust your schedule to make sure your team is on the same page. Surround yourself with the best people!
Your leadership style better be you: When was the last time you wanted to be around a phony? Being yourself is key to being a successful leader. You can not just emulate someone or some new self help style. Trust is key here. When was the last time you really trusted someone that is fake? You want to be a great leader? Focus on being real, being yourself, and leading people naturally from within. Keep trust and respect you have earned.
I doubt that anyone will think that this is “new” stuff. When I started out, I got a few lessons to start me off in the right direction. I want to share my experiences with you. If this helps? Great!