When you are authentic and you do original work or create something new, you tend to get to a point when your creation evolves, gets bigger only to find yourself in a leadership position. This is simply because you are the authority on that new thing that is now going on. People, who think like you or like what you do, will eventually follow you on their own. Those followers are potential power boosters. You will never be as powerful alone as if you would have hundreds behind you.
But the thing is, nothing ever prepared you for this. Neither your experience in life nor the education you got from school. Now that you have followers, every action you take, every work you commit yourself to and every decision you make will be looked at, analysed, jugged and sometimes even disliked. This new situation can easily become stressful and create different social anxieties and fear.
This new situation can totally change your style; it could make you more conservative, mainstream and cautious in order to please everyone. But be aware that it might be your downfall. When you become more conventional, you’re going against the originality and authenticity that put you there in the first place. When you try to please everyone, you often end up pleasing no one.
Others will react in a totally opposite way by becoming tyrannical; trying to impose their will or force on others. People often do things because they now have a title, a position or a certain reputation. These kinds of people usually end up being surrounded by only those that despise them.
Those two leadership patterns have something in common: they are based on fear.
This fear will tend to make you lead from behind.
Now, you start to sound like a “do what I say, not what I do” type of guy.
This never gives good result, and this is exactly why most managers I have dealt with were incompetent and disrespected by most!
Picture this: would you rather go to war with an officer that takes the machine gun in his own hands and says: it’s time to kill, follow me!
With someone who stays in the bunker behind the line and says; here are your orders…I’ll be giving advice by radio if assistance is required…
A leader who had deep-rooted fear will sooner or later convey it to his followers.
A better and natural way to lead without fear is to lead from the front. To continue what you did to get up there, to keep your hands dirty, to be bold and confident about what you do best. You work hard, you keep your creativity up, and you show them how things are actually done in a real man’s world.
By staying on the frontline, you show by example, you keep high standards for yourself, you take the necessary risks, and make decisions in the flow of action.
Even if you make some mistakes and fail in front of everybody sometimes, you just show them how you can get back on track, find a solution and move on.
That’s how you earn respect from others and not by being nice and always trying to accommodate everyone; unfortunately, this rarely works. You don’t have to criticize or force people to work harder because when they respect you, they will be by your side or do the job willingly no matter what.
The credentials from your past will only help you up to a certain level. To make this work, you have to prove yourself every day through actions. Big words and big promises will only work for so long.
Most people think short-term and are getting tired of all that buzz-word bullshit coming from everyone around them. In a world where almost everybody’s fake and most promises are just illusions, like a carrot at the end of a stick, you will stand out and be respected for your actions; Only those actions can prove that you’re worthy to be followed.
When you’re in a leadership position you have to make tough calls. Sometime, strategic decision means asking people to do things they don’t like, put them in a position they don’t want to be or simply put more stress on their shoulders. If you have been playing the nice accommodating boss in order to please everybody and prevent any possible fight, you can be sure that it’s going to back fire.
At the opposite end, if you are tough, work hard, take some risks, go after your goal with persistence and keep yourself to your principles, it will only seem normal for them to do the same. On this base of respect and high-standard, you will have room to move around and make the tough calls.
Realise that a follower, that respects and admires you worth at least 5 others who really doesn’t give a fuck. So, stay bold and authentic, lead from the front-line with high standards, and you will see your power multiplied as a result.
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.“-General Dwight D. Eisenhower
If you’re looking to improve your leadership skills, I can’t recommend you enough to read Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Wilink! This is simply a great book! It is clear, crisp and you will learn a lot on real leadership from it. This is no B.S theories, these leadership lessons are what keep Wilink and his men alive during war! Its also available in audio!
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