10 things all leaders need to know

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 23 Oktober 2014 | 20.01

Why should anyone follow you? Source: News Limited

GREAT leaders, just like great entrepreneurs, are made, not born.

In today's society, leadership and entrepreneurship both have lost their meaning in a sea of bad information coupled with poor portrayal of great leaders by the media. This makes many believe that leaders are defined by how well a company does or how much money they make.

Essentially, true leadership is not about either of those things but rather about one person's ability to take the front seat in a journey less travelled, and take an oath that everyone following him/her will reach their destination.

Leadership is about people, and people are all you can lead. Any idiot who says they lead based on the numbers of a business simply doesn't understand what the term even stands for, and is probably not the best person to follow. The one and only question a leader should be able to answer when questioning his own leadership is:

"Why should anyone follow me?"

Easier asked than answered, and yet there are plenty of incredible leaders out there leading people to better places, even when faced with unforeseen adversity.

Here are 10 things you should know if you are going to be a leader.

LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT PEOPLE

As I said earlier, you can only lead people, not things. Understanding that people are your only asset as a leader enables you to become very resourceful. It also allows you to take a vested interest in looking out for each and everyone of those you lead.

YOU CAN'T LEAD EVERYONE — SO DON'T TRY

When you answer the question why should anyone follow you, you have to understand that people are drawn to others who share common sets of values and beliefs and therefore everyone will not be drawn to you — and that's OK. One of the most memorable qualities a great leader has is his ability to know who should be following him based on the value they understand they can provide that person.

Understand that people are your only asset as a leader. Source: News Limited

LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND

Every leader has not ventured down every path and it is very likely that if you are in a leadership position, you find yourself challenged in ways you have never been before and gone down paths you never imagined. You don't have to know all the answers or the way, but you have to ensure you'll always be the first through the door and that you'll see the journey through to the end. The commitment you make is not to be right on the first attempt but that you won't give up till you figure it out.

LEVERAGE THOSE YOU LEAD

Resourcefulness comes from people, not resources. Great leaders know how to leverage those they lead for the common good of the group. Using your assets does not make you a manipulator; it allows you to move forward faster, and since those following you share a common vision, it will ultimately allow you to get there faster.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE YOU LEAD, BUT NOT FOR THEIR EVERY ACTION

As much as great leaders hold themselves accountable, they must also realise that they can't be responsible for every action those following them take. Each person has the capacity to choose their destiny and how they leverage what they have. Your role is to ensure you guide them in the right direction.

PROTECTING THOSE YOU LEAD MEANS MAKING TOUGH DECISIONS

In leadership, you may be faced with what we call sacrifices. In order to ensure the common good and growth of those following you, you may have to isolate and separate someone from the group, or perhaps even get rid of them. Those decisions are not made based on performance but rather by behaviour and attitude. In order to allow many to succeed, one must be allowed to fail.

Nice guys finish last, while fair leaders finish strong. Source: Supplied

LEADERSHIP ISN'T ABOUT BEING NICE — IT'S ABOUT BEING FAIR

Nice guys finish last, while fair leaders finish strong. The idea behind being fair allows you to keep the balance between friendship, family, and the goal at hand. While you always want to be considerate of others and understanding of their needs, you must still exercise balance to ensure everyone you lead, including yourself, moves forward. Great leadership is about balance, not friendship.

YOU DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE RIGHT

Great leaders know they are wrong when they are. They also realise they don't have to be right all the time. The important part is to ensure you don't pretend to be right when you are not.

YOU ARE ALLOWED TO MAKE MISTAKES, NOT REPEAT THEM

Everyone makes mistakes, and no matter how incredible of a leader you are, you are still allowed to make them. The difference is how you to react to them and ensure they don't occur again. Making the same mistake twice means you are incapable.

YOUR ACTIONS, NOT YOUR RANK OR TITLE, DECLARE YOUR RELEVANCE

Leadership is not given by an institution or business based on a title. It is earned through those who you are leading. Their earned respect and belief in you is what dictates if you are a leader or not. Don't confuse your title with your leadership status. You become a leader when those following you declare you as such, not because you were given a job.

Those are the 10 must-know aspects of being great leader. At the end of the day, great leaders are those who can answer the question of why others should follow them, but can also help convince those who don't know it yet that their leadership can help them reach new heights in growth, both on a personal and business level. So I ask you … why should anyone follow you?

Pejman Ghadimi is the author of the Third Circle Theory.

This article originally appeared on AskMen and was republished with permission.


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