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You can’t afford NOT to be a Leader

There are two types of people in the world today: Leaders––and those who refuse to be.…

The plain fact is that unless you’re willing to lead, you’re destined to fall behind. In this highly competitive environment, if you’re not willing to lead, you’re probably damning yourself to minimum wage work.

I’m going to be specific. I’m not talking about your job title. You don’t have to be a CEO, a manager or even a shift supervisor to be a leader. When we’re talking about advancing your life and career, we’re talking about leadership at its most grass roots––and powerful level.

Here’s what you need to do to be a leader…

#1 Work first on being a good follower.

That’s right. Good leaders are usually also good followers. You need to know when to take charge, and when to follow orders. Leadership and followership are not fixed positions. They’re dynamic roles and you need to know when to switch.

#2 Find the right Master.

There is nothing more important to your learning, growth and development than finding the right teachers, coaches and mentors. Find someone who is already established––someone who is where you want to go. And open yourself to their guidance.

#3 Commit yourself to personal and professional Mastery.

If you want to get ahead, make yourself valuable. Don’t wait for others to grant you the opportunity to learn or send you to training. You don’t need someone else’s blessing or permission to improve yourself. Identify some way to improve––to make yourself a greater asset to those around you––and go for it.

#4 Ask before you’re asked. Act before you’re asked.

In nearly every workshop someone asks me how to get noticed by the people who have the authority to advance their careers. Way too often this question is accompanied by some complaint about a lack of opportunity or consideration from those on high.

If you want people to recognize your talents, abilities and leadership potential––do something.

Don’t wait until someone has to ask. If you see something that needs doing and you can do it––do it! If you don’t want to risk stepping on toes––ask. But ask before someone has to ask you. That’s the difference between a leader and a grunt.

#5 Learn to deal with uncertainty.

There is only one thing in life that is absolutely certain: Uncertainty.

Nobody knows for certain what tomorrow is going to bring. Leaders become comfortable with uncertainty through learning, training and preparing for every conceivable possibility.

#6 Learn to talk and write good.

And if you don’t get the joke––we’ve got a lot of work to do.

It’s a terrible irony that while we have practically eliminated all technical barriers to communication around the world, people are having an increasingly difficult time understanding one another.

Effective leaders are effective communicators. Learn to adapt to changing technologies.

Constantly seek new opportunities to hone and improve your communication skills.

#7 Focus on experience over rewards.

I’ve heard too many regrets from people who grabbed a bigger paycheck over an opportunity for leadership. The people who delay gratification in favor of experience are those who enjoy exponential returns.

Sure, there are times to cash in and there are times when money is most important. However, whenever possible and all things being nearly equal, you’ll always enjoy greater rewards in the long run when you focus on opportunities for learning, growth and experience.

#8 Lead by sharing.

Leadership is sharing––a leader shares.

This means sharing power, responsibility and authority. It means sharing your knowledge, experience and wisdom with the people around you––at times even with those who might be competing with you. It means sharing credit for successes.

You grow as a person and as a leader in direct proportion to what you’re willing to share with others.

These 8 STRATEGIES are the focus of our ASPIRING LEADERS workshops…

We identify areas for growth and improvement, and we look for ways to build on strengths. Together we develop actionable DISCIPLINES you can put to work immediately to cultivate your leadership skills and develop as an effective leader.

If you’re ready to step up––to fully develop your leadership potential, you’ve got options:

I started this post by saying there are only two types of people in the world today: Leaders––and those who refuse to be.

Fortunately, the choice is completely yours.



Friday, December 7th

8 AM to Noon

UNUM Headquarters, Portland, Maine

ALL proceeds benefit Boots2Roots––enabling Maine’s newest active duty veterans to hit the ground running and add new energy to Maine’s workforce!

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