"I'll create my own style," I remember thinking. "I know quite a lot about how to lead. I mean, I played high school sports, so. I'll just watch those around me and try to emulate the best in each of them." Unfortunately it didn't occur to me that those around me might be really bad leaders. What a debacle.
So then, where do we start? There is little doubt in my mind that the best place to start your leadership journey is within your own self. That's right. Pretty easy, huh? How could it be this easy you might ponder. It really isn't easy at all to admit that we know very little about how to lead others. As a matter of fact I would argue that none of us get it completely right all of the time. I've always told those that work for me that leadership is not like riding a bicycle. You can't just learn how to ride and then leave the bike in storage waiting for you to get right back on and ride again when you feel like it. To be great leaders we must do the exact opposite of our human instinct. My friends this is why we must not only start our journey from within, but we must always fight the battle from within.
One quick example and then we'll call it a day because we all have some soul searching to do. Think about the one person in your life that really gets under your skin. You really live life just to one-up this person. The next time you feel the urge to lash out about this person or at this person, do the exact opposite. Keep your mouth shut and turn your lips into a smile. Simply let them know that their statement makes perfect sense, and you are glad that they shared this with you.
Now, don't get me wrong, we're not envisioning smurf world here. It is something called respect. How can you expect to have healthy relationships if you lack respect for others? I touched on this before here.
Don't forget that this is just the beginning of a life-long journey. The endeavor for leadership is actually one that is a battle with your own self. You can control your actions. Great leaders do not thrive upon coercion, but rather they master themselves and others follow.
What do you think great leaders do best?
Copyright © Robert Clinton Chedester 2012