Observing the role of a leader has always fascinated me. Observing how people lead is like “people watching” at the mall for me. I like to observe leaders in how they relate to people and that’s probably why I enjoy politics. I am fascinated by past Presidents and their successes and failures. I also have been somewhat of a bystander with religious leaders and have watched the growing trend of mega-churches correspond with mega-leaders. I always gravitate towards those articles that say, “How to become a leader?” or “Leading in the 21st century!” So as an observer and a bystander I am putting together my own list of what I think works for those in leadership roles.
1.) Be Confident but be Humble.
No one likes a self-righteous, egotistical leader. However, you can’t lead if you are constantly downplaying your abilities. Constantly weigh your confidence level with your humility. Always look for ways others can be uplifted in their gifts under your leadership. This is a full-proof way of keeping yourself humble.
2.) Don’t surround yourself with “Yes” men or women.
If you want to be a genuine leader make sure those that work for you are not constantly praising you at every whim. Look for honest critique and desire it. Leaders have a natural tendency to create sheep that follow blindly. Have at least one family member or a friend who gives you honest feedback and receive it.
3.) True leaders make better leaders.
A true testament to good leadership is molding others to become even greater than you. This is extremely hard for many leaders to do. It is human nature to want to always stay on top but a good leader knows when it is time for others to take the lead. The hardest part is to know that many times you will not get the credit for molding great leaders under you but there are always silent observers who know where credit is due.
4.) Laugh at yourself.
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Some of the best leaders loved to laugh and found humor to lighten the load in their leadership role. Humor makes leadership more tolerable for those that lead and those that are led.
5.) Don’t let yourself be idolized.
This is different from #2. There are those that say yes to your every whim because it is advantageous but there are those that idolize. These are people who are addicted to your leadership. This is something that is witnessed greatly in the religious world but it is also in the political world. Idolization destroys time and time again. A leader who accepts the idolization quite often loses balance in their priorities. Steer clear of idolizers!
6.) It’s just a job.
Leadership roles are full of pressure and stress. Many people are not leaders because they cannot handle the stress level and don’t know how to prioritize their life. Keep a symbol or a written statement as a reminder to keep things balanced in your life. Keep those you love way above your leadership role. Nothing proves more detrimental to a leader than the loss of a marriage or family relationship because your job came first. People respect leaders who put their family first.
7.) Take Responsibility!
The hardest part of leadership is taking responsibility for the actions of others. Good leaders know that, regardless of the circumstances, those that fail under you – is your responsibility. It is perhaps the hardest part of leadership but a leader cannot just dismiss someone without taking part of the blame. This not only demonstrates strength but it builds character in the leader.
Can you think of leaders that match these criteria? I certainly can and I am thankful for their leadership. However, when I observe the world around me true leadership (especially in the religious and the political world) is becoming harder and harder to find!