How to be the leader you always wanted to be
“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Many people have questioned whether a leader is born or made. As I have gone through life, I have held many leadership positions, but I have never considered this a natural thing for me. I have tried to grow up as a strong, independent woman that is passionate, supportive and willing to work hard to achieve my goals. I have also spent (and will continue to spend) years self-improving and self-pushing to become a better leader. I have developed several thoughts on becoming the best leader I can be:
- I use the “Just Do It” mentality, similar to the advice from entrepreneur Richard Branson. Branson gives the advice to young entrepreneurs that when you have an idea, you can give every excuse not do your idea but at some point you have to say, “screw it. Just do it.” I have adopted this mentality in my own life. I have never regretted a time when I took a leadership position, even if I felt overwhelmed, overworked or defeated in the position. In hindsight, all of my experiences made me a better person and leader. I could come up with a million excuses not to do something that may somehow benefit me in the long run, but at some point, I have to take the plunge into the opportunities and just do it. Millions of opportunities will pass you by in your life, but the ones you embrace can make you a better leader and give you a reason to grow as a person.
- I focus on being a mentally strong person. I take the time each day to just mellow out and think about my day, my life my future, and other topics. I also try to take some “me-time” everyday by exercising with my puppy, Addie, or by taking strategic, purposeful breaks from my busy life to enjoy time with love ones, be out in nature or watch a movie. In my life, I purposely take off Saturdays from schoolwork, so I can make sure I am mentally taking care of myself. If I work without pause on school, work, and other activities, then I might run the risk of burning out at a very young age. In Cheryl Conner’s article, she discusses the 13 thing mentally strong people avoid.
- I don’t give up after a failure. This was an important take away for me from Cheryl’s article. Mentally strong people can fail over and over again, but they take it in as a learning experience (Conner, 2013). Moreover, every failure gives you a chance to improve yourself. I have failed many times. I have taken on leadership positions that weren’t a great fit for me. It takes a strong leader to admit when something didn’t work out or another person can do a better job. Ultimately, the hope is that the failure can teach me something about myself. Being able to grow out of failure is a part of great leadership.
- Never think you are better than another person because you are the leader. A leader is nothing without the people assisting. An organization cannot just be one or two people, it is a complex structure filled with many working parts, and if one is not as strong as the rest, the whole organization is effected. This type of organizational culture, which values all parts of the organization, starts at the top of an organization, and a strong leader can be instrumental in setting the tone. When a leader is the weakest link, the organization’s morale and effectiveness is weak too.