It is an honor to say that my eldest daughter is just a year from completing a Doctorate in Pharmacy. Recently, she made me so proud as she gave a workshop at an elementary school for the students on the proper use of medicines around the house, along with the appropriate do’s and don’ts. What was really exciting was not her obvious command of the content but her command of one of the most intimidating audiences on the planet – elementary school kids! She demonstrated superb leadership skill. This from the girl who would call me on my cell phone virtually in tears because her sister, 8 years her junior, was traumatizing her with her defiance as she tried to be a teenaged babysitter. “Daddy” she would say, “Lauren won’t do anything I tell her too!” I would reply, “Princess she is 8 and you are 16, how is it that the tail is wagging the dog?” What growth! Today, she has evolved into a much better leader.
Why is it that some people who have title, position, and opportunity fail to be able to lead; while others from within the ranks command respect and influence that effectively lead people to accomplishments and positive results? This is a reality we see in homes among family members, as well as, businesses, corporations, and organizations. Many people are plagued by the ill of wanting to be the boss. Driven by some misguided desire to tell people what to do like a master with a whip to an animal. However, some have experienced the ultimate ineffectiveness of these practices and raised the question, “What can I do to be a better leader?”
The wisdom I have tried to pass to my children are the same principles and concepts I teach in Leadership Training. There are four basic principles of leadership and the practice of them lead to improved results:
- Be a Thinker
- Exercise Control
- Consider Others
Leaders are thinkers. You must master the content in your area of focus because leadership grows out of the presence of problems. The true leader is not the one just barking commands; but is the one who can maintain composure in a crisis by exercising self-control and present a viable solution to the opposing issue(s). Most importantly, the solution must also not be out of selfish ambitions but must clearly represent the best interest of others first. Ultimately recognizing that the single most important difference between animals and humans is choice. Humans reserve the right, regardless of what they are told, to chose their own actions. Therefore, they must be inspired not mandated. Inspiration starts with the example of the leader. Good leaders are like trees for their followers. They provide fruit; they provide shade; they provide support. But, these benefits are found at the surface only because the tree has roots; and the deeper the roots the stronger the tree. Therefore, if you want to get better as a leader work on your leadership principles because they are your roots; and the deeper you drive your roots the better you will be for your followers.
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Michael McFadden is a leadership and performance expert; founder of The Leadership Training Company; and author of the book How to Maximize Your Potential. Visit http://www.theleadershiptrainingcompany.com and sign-up for the FREE Business Leadership Coaching 5 Day e-course titled, “How to Achieve the Results You Have Always Dreamed.”