Becoming the Kind of Leader People Willingly Follow

If you want others to follow you, you will need to learn how to effectively communicate your vision to yourself and to others. This is difficult to do unless you are confident and emotionally intelligent, both in your overall vision and the approach you take to making that vision a reality. Mastering these three traits within yourself will set you on the path to creating an empowering work environment.  

Become a Communicator 

The greatest leaders, the ones who achieve the most, the ones who inspire the most people, are those who communicate clearly, powerfully, and effectively. They are able to do this because they speak in line with their truth, their lived experiences and remain connected to their positive internal voices.

Consider great leaders throughout history: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela. What do they all have in common? The ability to communicate their vision with passion, zeal, clarity, and impact. They all were able to inspire people to become bigger and better versions of themselves. 

The greatest leaders work exceptionally hard to ensure that all their communications are clear, concise, effective, and highly motivating.

How can you ensure that your communications are both clear and powerful? Consider using the 7 “Cs” of communication: 

  • Clear. Every aspect of your communications must be clear, both to you and to your audience. 
  • Complete. Your communications should include as much relevant information as possible, so the listener can get a complete picture. 
  • Concise. Your sentences, paragraphs, and main points should all be appropriately concise. 
  • Concrete. Use concrete language rather than abstract. 
  • Courteous. Your communications should be courteous to your audience, considering both their feelings and viewpoints. 
  • Correct. Each statement in your communications should be correct.
  • Considerate. Your communications are considerate of how the audience thinks and thus presents information in ways that are relevant and helpful. 

ACTION TIP :

  • Think of a cause you are absolutely passionate about.
  • Write out a communication about this cause for your youngest (8 years old and above) family member but exclude the heading or title.
  • Based on your words alone, can they determine what you are trying to get across or accomplish? Are they convinced as to why they should believe or do as you say?

Use this as practice for every communication you make

The greatest leaders take the necessary time to craft their communications so that they are as powerful and impactful as possible. They don’t rush things because they realize that few things are more powerful than their words. 

“Communication is a core leadership function. Effective communication and effective leadership are closely intertwined. Leaders need to be skilled communicators in countless relationships at the organizational level, in communities and groups, and sometimes on a global scale. You need to think with clarity, express ideas, and share information with a multitude of audiences.”

The Center For creative Leadership

However, merely being able to paint a vivid picture of your vision alone is not enough to inspire others to take great action. You must also demonstrate confidence in what you are communicating and illustrate to those around you that you are empathetic and emotionally intelligent. People are more likely to follow leaders that they KNOW understand them and want the best for them.

Become Self-Confident

Confidence is an inner belief that you have the ability to achieve what you set out to do. It’s the personal assurance that you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to. It’s the feeling that nothing is too big or challenging for you. 

But isn’t confidence something you’re born with? 

Not necessarily.

Confidence is born out of action.

In other words, the more action you take, the more overall success you’ll have. The more success you have, the more confident you’ll feel, which will lead you to take more action and the positive cycle continues. 

Yes, there will be times that you fail. There will be times when your ideas don’t pan out and your best efforts fall flat. There will be times when even your best-laid plans go to pieces. 

In those moments, you’ll be tempted to give up. Your confidence will flag, and you may doubt your ability to accomplish things. 

Avoid giving in to that temptation! If you want to be a confident leader, it’s absolutely critical that you keep taking action, moving forward, and striving for your goals. 

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” It’s the courage to continue taking action that makes for a great, self-confident leader. The best leaders are inherently confident, and they’re confident because they’ve consistently taken action. 

ACTION TIP :

  • Give yourself well thought-out, achievable yet challenging tasks to accomplish. As you hit each milestone, your confidence grow and you will find yourself reaching for bigger goals.

Sometimes your confidence can take a hit because of your inability to get over a specific hurdle. Constantly feeling like you’ve hit a break wall has a way of eating away at your self-belief and creating limiting beliefs that will hold you back. But never fear. There are a number of wonderful tools available to help you navigate this roadblock.

Become Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage both your own emotions and the emotions of those around you. It’s the ability to understand why you’re feeling a certain way in a particular situation and to understand why others might be feeling a particular way. 

There will be many times when you find yourself in difficult, stressful, emotionally laden situations. 

In those moments, it’s essential that you be able to understand why you’re feeling a particular way and then respond appropriately. If you simply fly off the handle and explode emotionally, you’ll lose the respect and trust of those under you. You must be able to manage your emotions appropriately and handle emotionally difficult situations. 

In the same way, you must also be able to understand why others are feeling specific emotions. This skill, often called Emotional IQ, allows you to see things through the eyes of others. It enables you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and experience the same emotions they are. 

If you’re unable to understand the emotions of others, you won’t be able to effectively navigate highly emotional situations. You’ll make decisions without considering the feelings of others, which can cause significant damage to your relationships. 

The best leaders are able to keep a close handle on their own emotions and to help others manage their own volatile emotions. 

ACTION TIP : Set aside 10 minutes every morning or evening to examine your emotions and answer these questions:

  • What situation is foremost on your mind?
  • How do you FEEL about it? 
  • What negative responses have come out of those feelings? 
  • How can you correct these negative outcomes? 
  • What positive responses have come out of those feelings? 
  • How can you amplify these positive gains?

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