Leadership Ambitions

great leaders1Today is the beginning of a new day, week, month, year and you have ambitions to improve on your past.  Namely in the leadership role because face it we all could benefit in being a better leader. Great ambition but where do you start? Where do you get your education? How do you improve? I have faced these same questions, and still face them as I aim to keep improving my skill set.  To date I would say majority of everything I have learned has been self-taught.  I watch, listen, read, study, you-tube, ask… you get the picture.  Some of the best leadership skills I have learned were not found in a college setting. Difference in boos - leaderFirst off being or becoming a great leader does not mean you are a boss.  A great leader has certain traits that distinguish them as someone others enjoy following. In this article I will point out those traits you need to have and how to improve on your leadership abilities. First the traits all great leaders have starts with vision. You have heard it before; ‘You must stand for something, or you will fall for everything’.  But along with having vision you must be able to share that vision, to describe it, draw it in the minds of others and be able to bring it to life. Great leaders also have an abundance of passion.  People follow great leaders because they also desire to feel a spark of that passion to have it light the fire in their own souls. In becoming a great leader you must also possess the ability to be a great decision maker. Be open to others input instead of thinking you are the only one with a good idea. You need to be quick with decisions but not hasty, committed but not rigid, analytical but not overly, firm but kind, and thoughtful but not obsessive. To succeed at being a great leader you must also be a team builder.  Groom the ability to share all key elements John-Quincy-Adamsyour team needs to succeed and not micromanage, instead be available for questions.  Being able to choose the right players for your team and then instill the confidence they need to grow and find their own passion in the tasks at hand is key. As a leader there is one thing that faster than anything else will topple your kingdom and that is to break a promise. Break a promise no matter the size and you will lose respect. You can have the position, the charisma, the knowledge and skill set, but if you cannot deliver on your promises it will become an empty role. Most important you must have good character.  Character defines us and without a strong, positive, and influential character you will not lead for long. People quickly discover true natures and being in a leadership role having a weak character behind a false wall will be discovered quickly. So now you have an idea of a few traits you need to start your journey of increasing your leadership ambitions, you are probably asking what next? Being great leaders for most is not something you are born with already having a complete skill set.  Waking up one day and saying. “I am a great leader”…and so it is.  Yes, majority of great leaders have natural abilities but they are also constantly improving on their image, knowledge, and abilities. The best education I have ever received like I said before did not come from a classroom but instead it came from surrounding myself with those that were already doing it.  {You are most like the five closest people in your life}. You want to be {fill in the blank}, then hang around with someone that is already doing it and doing it well. When increasing your education to become better at whatever you choose, you must first understand the correct techniques needed. “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way…” Michael Jordan You must master the fundamentals of being a great leader if you are to improve on your abilities. Making education part of your routine is vital, 20% of your time should be dedicated towards things that improve on your skill set. “Excellence is achieved by the mastery of the fundamentals.” ~Vince Lombardi Education can come in the way of reading, taking courses, attending seminars, asking questions, watching video, joining professional groups and more.  It is not always from the traditional sense of school that we gain our most valuable lessons and insights. Successful leaders regularly do the things that now unsuccessful ones forgot to keep doing. Fundamentals of leadership must be part of your everlasting routine. In the age of the internet and fast technology both good and not so good training, education, tips and other advice can be found.  There are many free to costly continuing education resources available to professionals. Make sure to check your resources and read reviews before acting on what you absorb. Yes, in all things I recommend a level of caution but do not hesitate to test out new ideas, theories, techniques as even Edison found 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb before succeeding. -K.Kirkland

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