LEAD

My personal reflection on leadership, with some add-ons from a female point of view

What does it take to be a good leader, and wait: what is a good leader. Effective leadership begins with you.

In short: Do what you love and love what you do!

In most companies, to climb up the career ladder, management, and leadership roles are the most obvious steps. My personal belief is that to be an effective leader, you must first be a leader of yourself. Self-discipline matters in everything you strive for, whether it’s losing weight, finishing a degree, or winning a gold medal in the Olympics. Before you lead, you must have an intrinsic desire and an ability to move mountains to get what you desire.

Belief in yourself is a tremendous asset to leadership. Your words and your actions can lead others to great heights – but only if you believe that you, too, have powers that are strong and which you strive to develop.

Mother Teresa was a leader, but if you didn’t know who she was and saw her from a distance, you’d think she was a quiet and unobtrusive nun working with the downtrodden in life. But, if you spent time with her, you’d know that she was also a great leader – able to inspire everyone in her path to the greater good of humankind.

Leadership doesn’t have to have a title such as “CEO” or “manager” because leadership transcends a title or letters after a name. No matter what role you play in life, you can become a leader by exuding your own confidence, willpower, and empathy for others.

To be an example for effective leadership and to make others want to follow, you must develop the following qualities of leadership within yourself:

Stand for something – Your values tell a great deal about who you are. Developing a passion for your convictions indicates to others that you have core beliefs that can’t be shaken, and others will look up to you for that.

Be an example for others – Preaching to others about how they should think and act isn’t nearly as effective as letting them know that you’ve been where they are now. People will know you by your actions, so let your actions reflect your values.

Be a mentor – You can empower others with the knowledge and leadership skills that you possess. Share what you know and what has worked for you, and you’ll be appreciated as well as setting an example for leadership.

Self-discovery – Always be on a path of self-discovery – even after you’ve reached the pinnacle of success. Knowing ourselves is a constant awakening process to the things we’re capable of and realizing our true convictions.

All leaders must take a journey within and discover their values and why those are your values. You can’t become a leader from a place of weakness. Internal guidance is necessary to navigate through the obstacles in life and bring you to ultimate success.

You may not know what makes up a true leader, but you’ll likely know one when you see him or her.

True leaders seem to have an aura about them that makes people take note when they enter a room or when they speak. It doesn’t matter how you look or what background you came from – it only matters if you’ve developed qualities at some point during your lifetime that give you the prized possession of authentic leadership.

There are many qualities that a leader must cultivate, but five of the top qualities that a leader must possess are:

Honor – If you’re to become a true leader in whatever career or personal path you choose, you must have a strict code of honor. Your character is an essential part of your overall makeup, and honor brings out the best of that character.

Commitment – No matter what you know or how much education you have, you’ll never be a true leader without commitment. The Olympic gold medal winner didn’t reach the top just because he or she was fit. Commitment played a vital role in his win.

Courage – It takes a lot of courage to be a leader. You have to be able to follow through with whatever you’re afraid of and make it look as if you’re totally unafraid. With every fear you conquer, you’ll gain a unique brand of confidence that others don’t have.

Generosity – By giving others time, knowledge, money, and other resources, you’ll build riches for yourself. Giving to others means that you’re not attached to the worldly things that can keep you from success. You have to be willing to let go before you can accomplish what you set out to do.

Communicate – A good communicator is a rare commodity these days. Just because you chat with others doesn’t make you a good communicator. You must maintain eye contact with a person and really listen to what he says. Reach out to others when you communicate and attempt to get to the heart of what matters.

True leaders are grounded in their beliefs and unshakeable in their passions. They do what they love and don’t complain if it takes more time and effort than most people would attempt.

If you want to develop as a leader, look for role models, ask them to be your mentor. In most companies, there are only a few female role models, try to get closer to them. One way to become a true leader is to emulate the qualities you admire in a person you consider a leader.   

Being a great leader is not something that happens overnight; it is a life long journey.

Great leaders have experienced failures in their pasts, but never quit trying and never gave up. They reach the pinnacles of success by not accepting failure as an option and go on to achieve great things.

Sometimes though, no matter how hard you try, your efforts seem not to amount to anything, and you feel close to failure. Most of the time, you’re telling yourself self-defeating lies, and other times you need to pick yourself up and start all over again.

When you leave the ‘failure’ in the dust and begin again, you’re negating its importance and know that those efforts didn’t work – so now, it’s time to move on to something that does work. No matter where you are in your life, failure doesn’t have to be an option you think about and resign yourself to.

Wallowing in stories of “what might have been” only keeps you from accomplishing what you’re capable of. Consider the following truths before you accept failure as an option in your life:

You learn from mistakes – After Scarlett O’Hara watched Rhett Butler walk away at the end of “Gone With the Wind,” she immediately started planning how to get him back. Her mantra, “Tomorrow is another day,” has been quoted throughout the years as going forward from a perceived failure toward anticipated success. Go after that second chance.

Know that life is a balance of good and bad times – Everyone experiences times in their lives when they cry when they’ve hit bottom, and when they feel on top of the world. Life seems at times to be like an opera that fills your spirit with happiness and elation and then – before Act III ends — brings it to the depths of despair. The challenge of life is to know that you’re part of the play; only you decide what role you accept.

Youre in control – No matter how difficult it is to accept the failure of something – a relationship, a job, or a career path – know that you are in absolute control and that only you can choose the path you take. The reaction you choose to adversity will determine whether you go on to success or more failures.

Failure isn’t the end – At least it’s not the end unless you give up. You can choose to pick yourself up and begin again and summon the courage you need to get you through the bad times. Failure only means you tried, and the way you tried didn’t work. Now, try something different.

Enjoy life – Even though life may have been difficult and challenging, enjoy what you have and go on to life’s next phase.

In the end, everything will be good, and if it is not good, it is not the end. Because of the learning experience, you’ll find that you’re stronger than you thought you were and that you can accomplish more than you thought you could.

With the current focus on diversity and inclusion, I would like to encourage specifically women to lean in for leadership roles.

YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL!

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