Follow These Steps to become an ideal leader
As a leader in your organization, how much impact do you have on its performance?
Probably more than you know. You may have been a leader for many years now, or recently promoted. Your organization may be a for-profit business or a church organization. It may be a not-for-profit community service organization or a local sporting organization. It matters not. What matters is that your leadership of your organization will directly impact the results you get.
It has been said that people get the results that they deserve. If leaders are not getting the results they desire, the first place they should look is in the mirror. What leadership traits are being exhibited? As a leader of your organization, consider the following test: Take a moment to paint a mental picture of someone you hold in esteem as a leader. Focus on appearance, actions, habits and lifestyle.
When your picture appears sharp and clear, ask yourself these questions:
• What specific skills and characteristics does this person possess?
• How does this person relate to others personally, professionally, and socially?
• What does this individual do that elicits respect and admiration?
When you've thoroughly examined the qualities that you feel make that person an effective leader, ask yourself one more question:
• Was this leader born with such well-developed leadership traits?
Hardly. Characteristics like being a good communicator, motivator, mentor, or coach are all developed. Creating an energizing vision, mobilizing teams, and generating commitment are all learned skills.
Now that you have developed a list of qualities of an "ideal leader," qualities that you believe are necessary for your success as a leader, what can you do to attain them or perfect them? Since all of these traits are developable qualities, each person in a leadership position must strive to perfect them. I am sure that the "ideal leader" you pictured works constantly at improving those things that makes him or her successful. That's the type of person they are, because they wouldn't be where they are now if they didn't.
Realize that the degree to which you lead your organization, team, or committee to success lies in your hands.
Your ability to lead both yourself and others will enhance the quality of your work as well as your life. The quality of your leadership not only determines your future, it determines the future of your organization and the lives of all those who follow you.
Leadership is first being, then doing. You must become the person that your position requires. In other words, you must assume the traits of the leader. That is done first by determining what these traits are and then practicing them in every aspect of your life. All of a person's actions come from years of habit formation. Replacing old habits with new ones takes commitment, perseverance, and time, but the rewards will be plentiful. It is difficult to do alone, and that's OK.
It is not a sign of weakness, but rather one of strength when you start to realize you are a synergistic being, interdependent on others for your success. Some people use a coach, some prefer to be part of a team, others have a mentor, and still others use a friend or significant other that can help them through the process. No matter your preference, the key is to imagine the point in time when someone views you as his or her picture of the "ideal leader," and then set your course to become.
Submitted by Jerry Fons, the founder and owner of the Leadership Development Group in Waukesha. He can be reached at 262-513-5944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.