At virtually every level in virtually any industry, you will find great leaders. Some graduated from great school and others from the school of hard knocks. They come from every nation, of every race, gender or creed. Their backgrounds are as diverse as our world population, but no matter where you go, all great leaders share the same five skills. If we desire to be great leaders, these are the skills we must develop:
One of the points that I’ve been trying to drive home for a while now is that we have to lead ourselves in order to lead others. In order to lead ourselves, we have to first, know ourselves. How are we smart? How do we interact with others? What are our triggers? How do we work under stress These are valuable things to know because we can’t manage our behavior, adapt and serve others, if we don’t know how we work, to begin with. Every great leader has developed a strong sense of self-awareness.
Fisher’s Fundamental Fact Of LIfe #3: No one will ever have more confidence in you than you have in you. Leaders inspire confidence in other people and we can’t give what we don’t have so it stands to reason if we want to develop others, we have to be confident in ourselves. It also takes a huge amount of confidence, to tell the truth, to lead with integrity and not be subject to popular opinion. In order to be a great leader, we have to develop self-confidence.
There’s a reason I’ve named my full day communication training program The Language of Leadership. It comes from the James C. Humes quote that says “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” Being a great leader is all about being a great communicator. Leadership is about influencing people to achieve and build more than they thought they could on their own. To that, we have to hear, and make ourselves heard. We have to master language and use it to inspire others to achieve our vision. Not every great communicator is a great leader, but every great leader is a great communicator.
“It’s just easier if I do it myself” are the words last spoken by the burned out, ineffectual manager. It might be, in fact, easier to do it ourselves, but that’s a recipe for disaster. Great leaders understand two critical points: first, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, and second, a leader’s job is to produce results and grow people. If we’re doing everything, every time, there’s no opportunity to grow those around you. As a leader, our job is to lead, therefore, we have to become master delegators to get off our plate issues and tasks that steal our attention from that most difficult task.
The leader who stops developing themselves becomes the leader without followers. We can’t develop those around us if we aren’t developing ourselves first. This is why the average CEO in the United States reads 60 books per year. We can’t let our schooling interfere with our education as Mark Twain used to say. We have to take our education into our own hands and continue to learn and grow. That’s why training ourselves to make time for reading, to listen to books while we drive, or podcasts while we exercise is so critical. We can’t let our education up to chance. It must be planned and developed like any other skill.
At virtually every level in virtually any industry, you will find great leaders. Develop your self-awareness, self-confidence, communication, delegation, and self-education skills and there’s nothing stopping you from joining them.
What Did I Miss? Let me know in the comments!