At some point, everyone will become a leader. However, most of us are often stumbled upon how we become leaders, how we should perceive mistakes and asking around. These five fruitful steps are summarized from a leadership guru, John C. Maxwell. In addition, we also add some more details on handling one of the most pertinent issues in leadership: overcoming arrogance from John R Havlik and Bill Treasurer.
1. How everyone is a leader, eventually
Eventually, everyone will be a leader. The first leader that we witness and learned from is our parents. They lead us, the children, to a certain goal in life that must be achieved, by guiding us in their own ways, until we are fully prepared, for they are not forever by our side. And when that time comes, we will be a leader. Even if we are not in a group or organization, we still need to lead at least one person, which is ourselves. Hence, anyone can lead, but becoming a quality leader requires a lifetime of learning.
2. On making mistakes and facing difficulties in governing ourselves
“Unless you have mastery over the totality of your own nature, you will be prone to causing a lot of leadership damage.”
Governing ourselves is the hardest thing to do. This applies for everyone. Because it is inevitable, the least you can do is to have conscience when you actually start neglecting yourself. Signs that you don’t have a handle on your actions include: You’re often angry. Your life is a disordered disaster. You miss deadlines. You’re negative and judgmental. You complain all the time. If these traits define you, assess yourself objectively. Take the necessary steps to improve yourself and your life.
“No one ever sized people up more accurately than the person who invented the pencil eraser. Everyone makes mistakes – large and small.”
With that being said, anyone can actually be a leader, but becoming a quality leader requires a lifetime of learning. In this life, mistakes are inevitable for everybody. These mistakes that we have made in our lifetime provide valuable lessons. No matter how hard and embarrassing we are from our own mistakes, we need to have a conscience that everyone makes mistakes. From that point, we should be able to go easy on ourselves when we make mistakes, not as in being ignorant, but by willing learn and appreciate the experience we get from those mistakes.
3. Lead more means serve more
“Leaders must deliberately slow their pace, stay connected to their people, enlist others to help fulfill the vision and keep people going.”
The price of being a leader is that we need to take care of people more than ourselves. Why? Because it concerns a big amount of trust and willingness from the people in your team. Up to 65% of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of the unfortunate situation to be working under untrustworthy, incompetent, and insecure leaders. That is why, work hard on developing strong relationships with the members of your team, and gain their trust. Leaders can’t climb to the top by themselves. Support your people and you will be supported too.
4. Ask your way around, when necessary
Along the way being on the top, there will be times where you will stumble upon the unknowns. It does not matter whether it is an information, or a technical skill, or even being completely oblivious of your own faults. The only reason why leaders are able to maintain their relationships with their members is because they listen to each other. You should not be the only one who is answering questions and giving answers, they are also capable of doing so.
Forget your pride, those who are on top are not the one who is working, they are serving their workers. Ask for the answers you need to do your job. Asking the right questions and learning the right answers are crucial to your success.
5. Measure your own success
After knowing the importance of learning to be a leader, the next thing to remember is how to measure your own success as a leader. While there is no exact way to do that, you can start by being mindful of how far you and your team have gone. Evaluate and constantly learn from the progress you have made so far. When leaders have led properly, optimism becomes their defining characteristic. Effective leaders are enthusiastic, energetic, happy about the present and confident about the future. And the people they lead feel the same way. They’ll look forward to going to work in an environment where employees and leaders thrive together.
As the world is rapidly changing, leaders have to promote continuous learning culture within the organization to keep being relevant with the industry.
Maxwell, John. C. The Leadership Handbook: 26 Critical Lessons Every Leader Needs. Nashville, United States: Harpercollins Focus. 2015.
Havlik, John R. and Bill Treasurer. The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance. Little Leaps Press, Inc. 2018.