Developing Everyday Leadership

Your growth as a leader starts right now,
wherever you are at this very moment. You don’t
have to be president of a billion-dollar company
to be a leader. You can begin with your present
relationships, your family and friends, your
community associations, your school or your
place of work. Developing your
leadership skills can prepare you
for larger challenges in the future.

If I were to ask you to think of leaders
you admired and those who had an
influence on your life, who would come
to mind? How about your parents or a
particular teacher or coach who had a
significant influence on you? Or maybe a
mentor at work?

For most of us, leadership is a day-today
matter of how we strive to do our best,
as well as how we get others to do their
very best. Leadership involves our responsibilities
at work, in the community, at
church or in our families.

Great leaders are often all around us. Very often, it is
people closest to us who are doing great deeds with little
means. The seeds of greatness exist in any of us who strive
to lead, even in the most modest undertakings.

It’s quite possible that, until now, you haven’t really
considered yourself a leader of any kind. Whether or not
that’s so, you may be surprised to learn just how many
ways you, indeed, are a leader, especially to those closest
to you. You could be a leader to a group or maybe only
one or two people. It could be in your work, in a special
interest you have or perhaps the quality
of a relationship you have with someone,
such as your children or loved ones.
There are people around you looking up
to you, believing in you as a role model
and as a leader.

Believe me when I say you are already
a leader in ways you may not be fully
aware. Never underestimate the influence
you have on the lives of others.

"The ability
we have to
make our
world better
starts with
how we live
our life."

Let me assure you that this is the very
moment you have vast power to help
shape the lives of others, especially if
you choose to lead by example. Never
forget this: At least once every day, try to
ask yourself whether your life is setting a good example for
others to follow. This is part of the contribution you can
make to change others’ lives for the better. The ability we
have to make our world better starts with how we live our
life and the example we set for others. Think about how

your vision of the future may be pointing the way for others. Think
about people for whom you might be a role model and in what ways
you are setting examples for them.

To expand your abilities as a leader, become the kind of person
others want to follow. You must demonstrate the leadership qualities
others are attracted to and are likely to emulate. Leaders must be able
to communicate their visions of the future to other people.

You don’t have to be a spellbinding orator to be a good leader, but
you must be able to express your thoughts clearly, in an orderly way,
and to speak forcefully enough that your listeners understand you
mean what you say.

Developing the efficiency of good listening habits will not only
help you hear more, but will help you understand more completely
the information conveyed to you. Nothing will enhance your reputation
as a leader more than being willing to listen.
Remember that listening, not imitation, is really the
sincerest form of flattery.

I have developed a list of several other attributes
identified in good leaders that I want to pass along
to you. As you read each one, consider which ones
already apply to you and those you’d like to apply:

Accepts responsibility and
takes it seriously.
Seeks out and listens to others, but
makes up his or her own mind.
Wants to leave the world better
than he or she finds it.
Has a genuine interest in others:
their joys, sorrows, hopes,
hurts, needs and fears.
Learns from the past, but
focuses on the future.
Aims to be of service to others.
Expects the best from others,
as from him or herself.
Learns from role models, but
knows who he or she is.
Knows the power
of yes and no and
when to say so.
Knows how to set goals
and pursue them.
Is dedicated to his or her work
and achieving goals.
Is not deterred by detractors or naysayers.
Admits errors, accepts failures, learns
from them and moves on.
Is not always right, but is right more
than wrong.
Imparts the moral tone to his or her enterprise.
Is honest and strives to be fair.
Is enthusiastic and optimistic about succeeding.
Motivates others with trust and belief
in them.

The demand for leaders is always greater than the supply, because
most would rather be led than lead. So opportunities are always
close at hand. Great leaders are motivated by purposes larger than

Finally, remember that leaders prepare others to assume their
roles. They want their vision to be sustained. Someone once
commented to Walt Disney’s nephew, Roy, that it was a shame his
uncle didn’t live long enough to see all that he started. Roy Disney
replied, “Sir, my uncle was the first to see all of this. We are just
building the vision he had years ago.” S

Robert Stuberg is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant and best-selling author
of many books, including
The 12 Life Secrets, Creating Your Ultimate
Destiny and Sell and Grow Rich. Stuberg specializes in helping people find
and apply their unique talent—the one thing that they are meant to do.


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