Leadership is one of the hot topics among authors, speakers, and gurus in the business world today. Whenever the topic arises, there is the invariable question, “What’s a leader?” There are countless definitions for the word leader and while I’m sure there is some validity in all of them, I am quite certain that a leader is someone that others follow.
There are good leaders and bad leaders. There are many people wanting you to follow them that are not going where you want to go. Pop stars are leaders, government officials are leaders, and corporate executives are leaders, along with many other individuals throughout society. Winston Churchill was a leader as was Adolf Hitler. You cannot confuse the direction of someone’s goal with the definition of them as a leader.
In my recent book on how to create, enjoy, and share wealth, The Millionaire Map: Your Ultimate Guide to Creating, Enjoying, and Sharing Wealth I describe the countless authors, speakers, late-night cable TV personalities, and others who want to tell you how to get rich. Whether it’s creating wealth or any other human endeavor, don’t ever take advice from anyone who doesn’t have what you want. If you surrender to someone’s sales pitch without checking behind the smoke and mirrors, you’ve allowed them to become your leader, and you are likely to follow them right off of a cliff.
Quality leaders rarely try to reach out and grab you through slick ads, TV sales pitches, and other marketing ploys. Real quality leaders worthy of emulating, you must seek out and take the time to discover what has made them great.
You need not admire every element of a person’s life to accept them as a quality leader for you. There are great athletes who are leaders on the field of play who do not exhibit quality traits in their personal lives. Some would argue this eliminates them from leadership, but in reality, no one’s perfect, and we must be able to find the greatness in people and overlook their shortcomings and frailties.
Gandhi said, “Every man is my superior in that I can learn something from him.” To this extent, everyone has something to offer you. If you’re going to accept a person as a leader in your personal or professional life, make sure that you’re only emulating the qualities that got them to the place you want to be.
We seem to want to judge everyone else’s results while looking at our own intentions. Our society loves to build up leaders and then tear them down just as quickly. None of us can stand the 24-hour scrutiny of the glaring spotlight.
We have the freedom to pick leaders who, though flawed, have been where we want to go and can lead us there. We also have the freedom to look at elements of other people’s performance and emulate those elements without totally committing to following every aspect of that person’s personal or professional life. It is important that we begin to see ourselves as leaders while we’re looking for people to lead us.
If you want to be a powerful leader, highlight your strengths and admit your weaknesses. This will give those who follow a clear path to the top.
As you go through your day today, follow the people who have been where you want to go, and be a leader for those who are coming behind you.
Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; or on Facebook.