You may not think of yourself as a leader. Yet, there are specific ways of becoming a leader.
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Doug Dickerson, in his article, The Power of an Unlikely Leader, shares this story:
The story is told a successful beauty product company that asked the people in a large city to send pictures with brief letters about the most beautiful women they knew. Within a few weeks thousands of letters were delivered to the company.
One letter in particular caught the attention of the employees and soon it was handed to the company president. The letter was written by a young boy who was obviously from a broken home, living in a run-down neighborhood.
With spelling corrections, an excerpt from his letter read, “A beautiful woman lives down the street from me. I visit her everyday. She makes me feel like the most important kid in the world. We play checkers and she listens to my problems. She understands me and when I leave she yells out the door that she’s proud of me.” The boy ended his letter saying, “This picture shows you that she is the most beautiful woman. I hope I have a wife as pretty as her.” Intrigued by the letter, the president asked to see this woman’s picture. His secretary handed him a photograph of a smiling, toothless woman, well-advanced in years, sitting in a wheelchair. Sparse gray hair was pulled back in a bun and wrinkles that formed deep furrows on her face were somehow diminished by the twinkle in her eyes.
“We can’t use this woman”, explained the president, smiling. “She would show the world that our products aren’t necessary to be beautiful.”
The story illustrates a basic leadership principle, titles don’t make leaders and leaders don’t always have titles.
This story is powerful because it shatters our preconceptions of powerful, charismatic leaders.
What if that woman had not shown personal leadership with her care and attention to that boy? He would have missed out!
The world needs your personal leadership!
Although you may feel inadequate, her are some ways of becoming a leader to help you grow. If you apply these tips, you’ll become the leader that people like the boy above are looking for.
Do you complain at work, at church, or in your condominium association board meetings?
It’s very easy to criticize our own leaders, and harder follow well.
Yet when we become the most proactive, professional, generous followers we can, we are learning important character lessons that will serve us when we take the reigns of leadership.
Become Your Best Self
Not everyone around you knows Why they are here, and Where they are going. They are looking for people who have that calm confidence. Be the one!
Identify Great Leaders to Learn From
Who do you know at work, in your industry, in your community, or in your church who leads admirably?
Take that person out to lunch. Pick her brain. Ask him questions.
Write down what character traits and leadership examples you want to emulate.
Perhaps you can meet once a month with one of these leaders.
Listen to and Read Great Leadership Podcasts, Books and Blogs
The EntreLeadership Podcast, by Dave Ramsey, is one of my favorite podcasts. Dave has led a successful small business for over 20 years. In this podcast he and others share leadership tips.
I recommend his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
One of my favorite books and workbooks is Warren Bennis’ book, On Becoming A Leader.
I also recommend his workbook, Learning To Lead.
There aren’t too many people who see a need, consider the need, figure out a solution, and decide to carry out the solution!
Next time you’re tempted to complain about a situation in the workplace, at church, or in your community, ask yourself what you can do about it.
Start small. Practice being part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
After all, leaders are problem-solvers. So you can become a leader by solving problems for others!
Faithful With Little, Faithful With Much
Jesus told the parable of servants entrusted with their boss’s investments. Two servants invested the money, worked hard, and grew their boss’s money. The third servant, afraid of his boss, dug a hole and buried the money. The boss, when he came back, put the servants in charge of big projects. However, he fired his third servant and gave the money he should have invested to the other two servants.
Like the woman in the story at the beginning of this article, you can to make this world a better place. Become the leader you’re meant to be.
Take one of the leadership tips above and start practicing it immediately.
As you start serving others through leadership, you’ll find that your influence will expand to the degree you are faithful.What are some of your favorite ways of becoming a leader? photo credit: Gunnar Pippel