There are many ways to measure our success in life. Some see it as the attainment of wealth and accumulation material things. Others might say raising a happy family is the most important thing to which we humans can aspire. The point is, we’re all different, we all have unique viewpoint and there’s really no right or wrong answer. There is something that the majority of us do have in common, however, and that’s the desire to be looked up to, respected and to give happiness and fulfilment to others. You may be the managing director of a large company, a parent, a teacher; whatever your role in life, your leadership skills gives you the opportunity to earn the respect of your fellow human beings and to attain the success you desire.
It is often said that effective leaders have the ability to motivate others. It is probably more accurate, however, to say that a good leader will inspire others to do what’s best for them. This inspiration can be given in a number of ways. Your passion to achieve a particular goal or outcome will, if shown to others, encourage them to follow your lead. Asking questions that provoke thought and encourage the receiver to reflect and answer internally can inspire people to act in a mutually beneficial way. Engaging in meaningful conversation with others will help them to make effective choices. Continued assistance in setting meaningful goals, and ensuring that reason for the goal is clearly understood, is a very useful way to inspire others. Ongoing coaching, or mentoring, is very important, as it helps those you wish to inspire to continue to make new, good choices. Most importantly, your actions should be a source of inspiration to those you wish to motivate and must align with your words. Lead by example!
Self belief is a crucial attribute of the effective leader. Clearly, it is going to be very difficult to get others to follow you if they doubt your commitment to a proposed venture. Furthermore, you will have difficulty inspiring yourself, if you don’t have faith in your ability to achieve your goals. Self belief leads to self confidence – and this assurance shines through as a beacon to those you wish to lead. The display of confidence is crucial for several reasons. First of all, it gives a clear physical demonstration of leadership; a focal point for others. Secondly, the knowledge of a “strong hand on the tiller” inspires the self-belief in others. A great example of the power of demonstrated confidence is to be found in the tradition of 18th and 19th century ship’s captains to remain a visible presence on the deck of their ships in the heat of battle. Although this practice was to cost the great Lord Nelson his life, it inspired his men to victory and beyond. Thirdly, confidence creates an aura of invincibility in negotiations and other high pressure situations. Keep your cool, and enjoy the benefits that confident, clear decision making will bring.
Whatever the size of your organisation, you must be familiar with its workings at every level. You must be prepared to ask questions, read about and research the various aspects of your business. There must be no part of it that you cannot discuss or give advice on. You must be up-to-date with recent developments and be able to talk knowledgeably on all relevant subjects. It is said that knowledge is power and being an expert on your business will earn you the respect of your peers and those who look to you for leadership. Having unexpected knowledge is an extremely effective way to gain an important edge in negotiations. It also has the highly desirable side-effects of increasing your confidence, setting an example to others and inspiring them increase their knowledge and effectiveness.
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