"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."
--- Harry S. Truman
Not every business owner is a leader. Neither are managers and supervisors. A true leader does more than bark out commands and dictate instructions. The true leader is at the front of the pack leading others, not just to the project or work, but through the task. The true leader is the kind of person who shows, instructs, teaches, demonstrates, encourages, motivates, challenges, recognizes and rewards.
Being a good leader requires a certain set of skills that not all leaders possess. These skills can be learned, but the leader must have a desire to obtain them. These skills are picked up along the leadership journey and honed over time. A seasoned leader will provide opportunities for growth by stretching followers and seeking teachable moments on an almost daily basis. Getting to the point of being a true, good, and seasoned leader takes time and a focus on the following three key principles...
"A lot of people, when a guy scores a lot of goals, think, 'He's a great player', because a goal is very important, but a great player is a player who can do everything on the field. He can do assists, encourage his colleagues, give them confidence to go forward. It is someone who, when a team does not do well, becomes one of the leaders."
The first principle is to always seek ways to contribute. There are leaders who simply dictate what must be done and then leave it to others to complete the task. But the truly good leaders roll up their sleeves and jump into the project with others. They get their hands dirty and sweat with others showing and teaching along the way. If you want to be a truly good leader, get involved.
"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish."
--- Sam Walton
The second principle to apply toward becoming a truly good leader is to learn to find something to compliment in everyone. Management guru and motivational speaker, John Maxwell, has a 30 second rule. He makes sure that he says something within the first 30 seconds of being with someone to boost their self-esteem. Master this and you are on your way to becoming a truly good leader.
"Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion."
--- Jack Welch
Thirdly, truly good leaders set the course for others to follow. They create a vision for the business, but they don't stop there. They live the vision first, then they communicate the vision to others. They lead using the vision, they talk the vision, they use the vision as a guide in every business transaction.
"Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers."
--- Simon Sinek
When you apply these three principles: seek ways to contribute, boost self-esteem in others, and create a vision, you put people first. People follow leaders who believe in them. They follow leaders who put people first and who know that business cannot function without people who believe in and trust truly good leaders.