We’ve all heard the phrase “born leader.” Well, I’ve got news for you. No one is born a leader. Things like that don’t just happen. They’re the result of choices and conscious decisions. I have visited new parents at the hospital many times, and the baby is always announced “It’s a girl,” or “It’s a boy.” Never have I heard, “Look, it’s a leader!”
I’ve studied leadership and its underlying principles ever since I founded my company 20 years ago. To be honest, I was terrible when I started. I made so many dumb mistakes it’s a wonder things didn’t fall apart right out of the gate. But now, I’m a great leader, surrounded by world class leaders and world class talent. This didn’t happen by chance or coincidence.
I’m convinced that one of the reasons I’ve developed as a leader is that I’ve spent thousands of hours reading and studying. I’ve also had lots and lots of experiences — both good and bad — to reach the point I’m at today. Part of this education and learning process meant I had to realize that I didn’t know everything. It also meant I had to take the time to examine my mistakes, learn from them and be humble enough to admit when I’d screwed up.
Do you get what I’m saying? Leadership can be learned. Being a great leader takes much more than just talent and desire. You have to be the kind of leader people want to follow. You have to be the one who gets the best out of those around you, and makes them passionate about their jobs.
Business and leadership great John Maxwell has a name for this concept. He calls it “The Law of the Lid.” As the leader, you are the lid. And your organization can’t grow beyond your leadership capabilities. The good news is, through education and self-examination, you can become the kind of leader who isn’t a lid on his organization. The choice is yours!
Grow Your Team Intelligently
Great leaders also realize they are nothing without the people around them. You can have the greatest ideas and business acumen on the planet, but without an awesome team to back you up you’re going nowhere. It’s vital to take your time when adding new team members, no matter how much you need someone. It costs a lot less, both in terms of time and money, to find the right person for the job the first time.
Communication Is Key
Finally, make communication a top priority in 2015. The failure to communicate things in a timely, detailed manner is one of the surest ways to instill frustration and even anger in your team. Great leaders intentionally create and encourage a culture of open communication from top to bottom within their companies. And the effects on morale, creativity and productivity are amazing!
Don’t feel bad if you see areas for improvement in yourself after reading this. Stuff like this doesn’t just occur. You’re not a born leader any more than you’re a born football player, actor or musician. You may start with a gift, but you have to make a choice to work your tail off if you want to develop that gift to its fullest potential!