Leadership is, of course, subjective. But its foundation stems from one thing: the ability of an individual to establish a following among other individuals or teams. Some people appear natural born leaders, while the rest of us have to work at it. But, whatever your style or strategy, you need to ask yourself the difficult question:
“Are you creating believers or doubters?”
At the core, good leaders bring out the best in others, making them accomplish more than they otherwise would. In many ways, leading a company is a lot like leading a competitive rowing crew, there are no individual star performers in a crew, only successful teams. While technical skill and strength are enough to move a boat, relationships and quality of coordination among the members create team success or failure.
If members of your team are not fully on board, if they do not believe in your vision, they will not succeed and ultimately neither will you. Your job as a leader is to build consensus around a common goal.
Here are three other questions to think about as you hone your leadership skills:
Is your vision altruistic or is it promoting personal gain?
Leaders inspire positive change and create movements where people feel valued and fulfilled being a part of it all. Your vision will ultimately be at the core of your success or failure. If it’s only about personal gain, it won’t inspire others to join the team.
Do you plan around the vision and stay consistent?
Focus and discipline show your commitment to others. Most people need to see it before they can believe it! A leader usually possess the instinct to know when the time's right to do something, and has the courage to do it before anyone sees it was the right thing to do. Leadership isn’t for the faint hearted.
Do you have the right people to fulfill your vision?
This is often easy to tell. Is there resistance, or drag? Are their first words "don't, shouldn't, can't? " rather than " do, should and can?"
Those who resist create bottlenecks, and they drag the whole team down through their world of doubt. Those who are curious and awed by challenges and transformations happening are simply more resourceful.They look for solutions. They work to find ways around or over roadblocks. They roll up their sleeves and don’t say “No, why me?" They say “Hell yes, pick me!”
And finally, back to the rowing analogy. This is something I read that really stuck with me. Jim Rosebush, the CEO and founder of GrowthStrategy.us and a former Reagan White House official was writing about a friend of his, a business leader and champion rower. This is what his friend had to say when asked, “in rowing, what makes a leader?”
"The leader in the boat empties the gas tank in every race — he goes full force, puts all his energy into the race, every time, in every competition. This is the way natural leaders emerge in the boat — it's the ones who expend the most energy in winning, work the hardest. They stand out because they run the course with more obvious commitment and power and energize others in the boat to follow."
Are you ready to go full force? Are you ready to lead?