Can Anyone Be A Leader? @StrategicMonk #bealeader

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I talk to people about leadership and becoming a leader. Some of them wish they were more effective at being a leader, some wish other people were more comfortable with their leadership, and some are not certain that they even want to be a leader. All of them have questions, and many of their questions grow out of a common concern.

Each of them, in one way or another, doubt that they can be a leader. They often ask me whether I believe that anyone, and everyone, can be a leader.

Yes, anyone can be a leader. It is helpful to appreciate how we understand what being a leader is all about.

Some of us view leadership as developing a set of skills or practices; good leaders have those skills, bad leaders do not. Some of us see leadership as being about whether or not we have a leadership title, a position of responsibility. Some of us understand leadership as growing from a set of qualities, such as being articulate, being charismatic, being dynamic.

Each of us has our own favorite piece of the puzzle. The big picture of leadership is much greater, much deeper than the sum of these pieces.

The essential reason that anyone can be a leader is that becoming a leader is very personal. It does not require us to have a particular personality, or set of habits, or title. Becoming the leader you have the potential to be begins with knowing yourself.

The core of being a leader is knowing and leading yourself first.

I was brought up to be responsible. I have had some of the qualities people associate with leadership for as long as I can remember. People have given me leadership positions for most of my life. I worked hard to have good leadership habits. I was not a very effective leader until I woke up to the fact that I was asleep to myself.

The leaders who have inspired and taught me the most are people who knew themselves, and shared their true selves with me. They are not the most articulate or organized people I know, and some of them do not have very prestigious positions. They are, though, the leaders who have taught me how to be a leader. They are leaders I choose to follow.

It takes a great deal of effort to be a leader. It is not easy. There is never a point at which you arrive and your work is completed. You may not receive great financial rewards. You may not become famous.

Being a leader being on an adventure. It is a series of deep, engaging, fascinating relationships that begins with recognizing and appreciating your true self.

Can you be a leader?

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Greg Richardson
Born in rural Wisconsin, Greg was raised to be very strategic. His life and work have been a voyage of discovery beyond anything he could have imagined. Greg is a recovering attorney and university professor. He has served as a criminal prosecutor, a legislative advocate, and an organizational leader. Greg has recruited, trained, and developed volunteers and staff members for a wide variety of companies. He brings his experience, focus, and sense of humor to each of his endeavors. Greg is articulate and engaging. Greg is also monastic, a lay person connected to a Benedictine monastery in Big Sur, California. His experiences with monks and monastic life have taught him the deep importance of working from a person’s, and an organization’s, core values and principles. Greg is a deeper, clearer listener. He knows the benefits of silence and reflection. In addition to being monastic and strategic, Greg has a strong appreciation for the virtues of craft brewing. He is on a pilgrimage of craft breweries in Southern California, and writes a monthly column about craft brewing for an online magazine.Greg now lives in Pasadena, California.
Greg Richardson
Greg Richardson
Greg Richardson
Greg Richardson

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6 comments
Knopper Guidance
Knopper Guidance

Greg, I couldn't agree more with the insight that True Leadership starts with leading yourself.

I hope you appreciate my insights on leadership - I'll be brief - there is so much more to say.

Leadership is a very popular concept nowadays - everybody is talking about leadership. Many people call themselves leadership consultant and trainer and coach. For me the essence of leadership is "to go first". 

The words leading and leadership originate from the Old English word LITHAN, which literally means "TO GO". Merriam Webster's dictionary defines leadership as "to guide on a way especially by going in advance". So, leadership is also about "to go first" and to influence others by actions as well as by words.

To be clear: LEADERSHIP has nothing to do with CONTROL - POWER or COERCION.

Leadership has everything to do with "facing reality and on that basis to start a dream or a vision". O yeah: A vision is for everybody!

When you are able to face and accept reality you can start leading yourself and then the next step is to lead others.

Best regards,

Ivar Knopper


Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

Hi Greg - great food for thought here, sir... My two cents:

There are good and bad leaders... The bad ones should not be leaders, because they're really in need of true leadership.

There are leaders and there are followers, fact. There are also far more followers than leaders... 

The only requirement to be an exceptional follower is to accept to be served.

The only requirement to be an exceptional leader is to serve others. 

Leaders don't lead to be the boss or to be in charge; they lead by providing others the resources/knowledge/skills/insights/traits/attitudes they need to excel in life. 

Bad leaders are motivated by something they can get, or something it can provide for them. They're selfish. 

Good leaders naturally and consistently provide value to other peoples lives, because that's what leaders do. They're selfless. 

The best leaders serve those they lead and esteem every individual they serve greater then themselves, because they are.

Cheers, Greg! : )




AliRodriguez
AliRodriguez

I'm enjoying your post, Greg! - Most of our young lives, we really don't know who we are, however, I concur leadership abilities, habits and strategies can be developed to those who don't naturally have them.  And getting to know one's self at a deep and meaningful lever, as the Master Card commercial says:  PRICELESS!

Greg Richardson
Greg Richardson

Hello, Mark, and thank you.

As you can see from my post, I see things differently.

I do not find clear lines of distinction between leading and following. The people I meet all tend to be people who can become more effective leaders and followers. Many of them struggle to learn how to recognize and live up to their potential.

I believe that many of the differences you describe between "good" and "bad" leaders also apply to followers. I also believe that we expect a great deal more of followers than that they accept being served.

In my experience, there is a wealth of lessons we can learn from the people around us.

Thank you,

Greg

Greg Richardson
Greg Richardson

Thank you, Ali.

Yes, knowing myself is the most significant, and most rewarding, challenge of my life.

Thank you,

Greg

GroTraffic
GroTraffic

@Greg Richardson It's all great brain food, Greg... nothing right or wrong here,  just different perspectives to share with this awesome community of leaders.

That would be another great quality of effective leaders;  be open-minded to new information, ideas, perspectives of others to learn and grow and from : )

I appreciate the insights, Greg cheers to you, sir! : )