When you think about leadership, do you think of a job title – manager, supervisor, boss? So often, this is true. But does the title mean you really know how to lead? Are you the kind of leader that people want to follow?
You may think that it doesn’t matter whether they want to follow you or not. You’re the boss, right? But the truth is, it matters very much. If people don’t want to follow you, then your job just got much harder. So, do you really know how to lead your people?
Leading from the Heart
I can’t think of a better example of leadership than Mel Gibson’s character, Benjamin Martin, in the movie The Patriot. Yes, this movie was about patriotism; but it was also a great example of LEADERSHIP. Maybe it was his intense blue eyes that made others follow this colonial farmer so loyally, but I don’t think so. I think it was his heart. Because this man had heart!
He was passionate about what needed to be accomplished, and he pushed and persuaded others to see it, too. Then he fought in the trenches (or the swamp) with his men to get the job done. Did those men go into battle to fight for a cause they believed in? Yes, but they also went into battle because they believed in the man who was leading them. He had a way about him that even caused the enemy commander’s dogs to switch sides and follow him!
It is amazing what you can accomplish when you have a clear vision of what needs to be done and know how to bring everyone together to realize that vision.
Becoming a Great Leader
Here are a few ideas for getting on track to being a great leader:
- Know your team. Know their strengths and their weaknesses.
- Clearly express your expectations to your team.
- Listen before reacting.
- Delegate. You can’t do everything.
- Be consistent. Make a plan, put it into action, and then follow through. It’s your job as the leader to make sure the plan is completed.
- Lighten up! Laugh, and make others laugh.
- Encourage people.
- Lead by example. Be willing and able to do what you ask of your team.
- Praise in public, coach in private. No one deserves to get blasted in front of their peers.
- Be present. It’s hard to follow a leader who doesn’t interact and get involved with their team.
Of course, there are many more things that go into making a great leader, and some of them just can’t be taught. It is the gut instinct, the common sense and most of all the heart that really cares that allows you to inspire and motivate those within your circle. Find your heart.