Can anyone be a leader?
Leaders tend to be leaders everywhere. I have taken graduate level classes with textbooks that indicate leadership can be learned. Yes, some management skills can be learned, but authentic leadership is largely a function of personality.
I am not talking about charisma or charm or anything like this. What I am saying from hundreds of Culture Index results of successful executives and entrepreneurs is that the best share specific traits. They are tenacious, visionary and are natural problem-solvers with at least enough follow-through to hold themselves and others accountable.
What do I do if I’m not a leader?
At the top of an organization- or large department- needs to sit an authentic visionary leader or a doer who is smart enough to hire or partner with an authentic visionary. After the executive layer, it is often acceptable to have less visionary leaders.
These would be more of the stereotypical managers who are responsible for making sure things run smoothly but are not responsible for setting the long-term vision of the organization or even their area. There can also be a team leader role, which would be someone who is doing the job of his peers 60-80% of the time and spending the rest training and scheduling the others.
What is the number 1 thing a leader should do?
The most important thing a leader must pay attention to is this: know thyself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where are your blind spots? How far can you and/or should you go in your company or business? What I might suggest beyond this would be based on who you are.
There are those who are not in a leadership role at work, but who are definitely leaders at home, but it’s probably not as easy for them as for those by whom leadership comes easily. Some leaders are forced into leadership, and this tends not to end well since the strain of taking the reins will eventually show up.
So is leadership really for me?
When considering whether leadership is for you, at least in the business world, here are some thoughts to take note of. First, find someone who has done something similar to what you want to do and schedule a call or meeting with them.
Ask what they love most and least. Get a vivid picture of what your journey is going to be like before you jump on the train. Make sure you are ready to take that leadership role to get and keep things off the ground.
Secondly, experiment before dumping too much money into the project. Once you have a product or service at a stage where it can be sold, go sell it. Prove that people will buy it. Then ask for feedback. Thank them for being early adopters. Bring them along on your ride and iterate until you have something you know will sell for sure.
Third, go for it, being honest with yourself about what you bring to the table and what you lack so you know who you need to bring in first to ensure your idea scales. If you are not truly a visionary leader, this is the point where you will need to partner with someone with more vision in order to keep that idea moving forward.
Trying to force yourself into a round hole when you’re a square peg might seem like it’s working, but when push comes to shove, you’re going to pop right out and it will end in disaster. Only by partnering with someone that fills in the gaps you leave will you be able to have a successful business and be a winner in leadership.
Who is Doug? Doug Kisgen is an author, entrepreneur and personality expert. His primary work? Raising his five kids with his wife of 20+ years in the hill country of Texas. For ways to put these ideas into practice, check out Doug’s book, Rethink Happy: An Entrepreneur’s Journey Toward Authentic Joy, available now as an e-book or in paperback!