How To Be A Great Leader People Want To Follow
I often find people wondering how to be a great leader and where to find people who will want to follow you. The easiest answer is often the simplest:
If you start leading, others will start to follow.
People are constantly looking for people to lead them down the path toward their goal. You can be that person, and it’s easier than you might think!
Consider this: when you’re faced with a double-door entry/exit to a building with only 1 door open, what do most people do? They lineup at the open door and wait for their turn to go through!
Now what happens if someone walked up to the second door and opened it to walk through? Suddenly people will move from the first line and follow the new path through the doors. You can be the person opening the second door.
Here are a few key traits that will help make you a great leader:
Humility is one of the most important traits for anyone wondering how to be a great leader.
The more successful you become, the more humble you need to be. Nobody wants to follow someone who wants to spend their time showing off how great they think they are.
Leave the ego behind and stay grateful for what you’ve accomplished.
To be a great leader you need to know where you’re going. Get crystal clear on your vision and be purposeful with your actions.
This vision cannot just include you and your personal goals. It needs to expand to helping others achieve their goals too. This is what will inspire people to want to come along on your journey. They’ll want to be a part of your vision, and hopefully achieve some success for themselves along the way.
A great leader always takes responsibility; this is non-negotiable.
Great leaders are the last to take credit for successes, but the first to accept blame for any losses.
Great leaders will set the tone for others to follow. Show others what’s possible, while remaining accountable.
People will want to attach themselves to a “sure thing”, so they’re more likely to choose to follow you if they know in advance exactly what they can expect.
As a leader you’ll find it necessary to occasionally deal out criticism to help others reach their goals and potential. It’s important to keep any critiques positive and helpful.
Don’t discourage others, bring out the best in them.
Show You Care
I’ve often heard it said that people don’t care how much you know until the know how much you care. Everyone from Teddy Roosevelt to John C Maxwell have been attributed with coining the phrase, but it’s truth remains.
Make people feel something and they’ll follow you anywhere. I’m reminder of one of the the great pre-battle speeches from the movie Braveheart. His colleagues may not have been convinced prior to the speech, but afterward every single person was willing to follow him, no matter the outcome because they could feel the vision. It became personal for each of them.
When you’re in a leadership role, respect is not something that’s “earned” or “lost” … respect is a necessity. A great leader will maintain respect for others throughout their relationship.
It’s okay to disagree with and challenge others, but you must respect them.
Most of us aren’t born with the gift of communication, but this is definitely something we can all learn.
All great leaders invest in themselves and work on their skills. I’ve heard it said that top performers out-read and out-invest average performers at least 10:1. It’s a never-ending journey of personal growth that’ll constantly leave you hungry for more.
The very best leaders also use this communication secret: Point and direct others to find the answers, even if you know the answer yourself.
Why would you do this? As a great leader you never want to put yourself in a position where others cannot outperform you or build an even bigger vision. If you position yourself as the person with all the answers, you’re bottle-necking their growth at your ceiling. Make them resourceful and they’ll thank you for it many times over.
All great leaders are trustworthy, but they also trust their followers.
If you’re genuine and approach everything with their best interests at heart, your following is bound to not only grow, but create a solid connection that can’t easily be broken.
Always Follow Through
Assuming a leadership role places a lot of responsibility directly on your shoulders. When you’ve provided an expectation for something to be done, it needs to be done when and how it’s expected to be done.
We all know that unexpected circumstances sometimes throw off even the best laid plans. In those instances a great leader will take ownership and communicate updated expectations throughout the process.
Now that you know how to be a great leader, are you ready to step into the role you were always meant to play?
Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to follow your progress.
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