What you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
So you want to be a leader?
If you want to be a leader, you’re committing to live above the line. A jerk has an ego, a guy with an inferiority complex is a tyrant with his authority, and the desperate dude tells everyone what his position is, but a true leader is so confident in his being, no act or declaration is needed. It’s a gift he lives and breathes.
Being a leader is a lot of work and responsibility; a noble task, meaning you bring character of the finest qualities, and you live with the highest integrity. You ready to get started on this journey? Before I go on a trip, I like to make a list of things I’ll need. You’ll need a list for your quest to rock solid leadership. Here are at least 11 qualities you’ll want to pack.
The word “character” gets used all over, but what does it mean? Gut check. Character is different than reputation, which we’ll get to later. It’s the way you live behind closed doors. Your moral/ethical ingredients are your character. Are you free of bad behaviors or habits? Your standards should be high because you believe you deserve the best, and your group deserves the best. A leader sets the standard for the entire group or organization.
I really like what Joey Gloor wrote: “In consumerist culture, our manhood is marked by our ability to consume everything this world has to offer.” It amounts to a lot of distraction, and a leader can be enticed even more, so it’s important you’re faithful and prioritized in the little things. Are you just as committed to the behind the scenes positions or roles that don’t receive attention? Do you volunteer to serve on committees? Are you dedicated to your homework and school? Are you faithful to your girlfriend? Dedication takes time and energy…and requires everything.
Another one of those, “what the heck does that mean?” According to Dictionary, it means “moderate or self-restrained; not extreme in opinion, statement, etc.” A leader isn’t extremely emotional, opinionated, vocal, and doesn’t get trashed at a party. Why? Because someone has to be calm in an emergency, someone has to be the voice of reason in a tense situation, and someone has to be in control when things get out of hand. In those moments, the cream rises to the top…and it’s the leader.
The right thing to do is usually not the easiest. Self-control is different from being temperate. It’s “the ability to control one’s emotions, behavior, and desires in order to obtain some reward, or avoid some punishment.” Self-control is strategic and involves a goal and discipline. Bodybuilders are pros at self-control. They control everything they eat to attain the reward, which is being shredded like a beast. Self-control is holding out on immediate gratification to attain a prize of legacy proportion.
Be your word. A real man doesn’t feel entitled to anything. Respect is a characteristic only leaders have because they earn it through trust and hard work. It doesn’t come overnight. You can’t force it. Respect is example. Respect is genuine. You get respect when people see you keep your word and live up to higher ideals. When a leader speaks, everyone listens because he’s earned his audience.
There’s just no cool word to describe this characteristic because when people are around a leader, they feel taken care of, welcomed, and included. He’s a whole hospital within himself. Even if the organization is huge and the leader doesn’t have time for everyone, he’ll create an environment where everyone can feel a part of the greatness.
A leader understands he can’t do it all by himself, so he’s a great teacher. Instead of being secretive, a leader looks to carbon copy his skills into his protégés. He replicates himself. As Ralph Nader said, “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”
A good leader isn’t quarrelsome, but sometimes direct. He will confront his closest friends if their actions could potentially hurt the group or organization.
A leader isn’t greedy. He’ll volunteer and expect nothing in return. His intent in helping out is not to receive recognition, a reward, or even a thanks. In fact, a leader is always looking for a chance to recognize someone else.
10. Good reputation
As a leader you represent an entire group, club, or organization. Your actions do not go unnoticed. Conduct yourself as if you represent 150,000. It takes time to build a good reputation, but it can be lost in an instant, so always be on guard.
Notice how conceited people get kicked off reality shows first. No one wants to follow someone with an attitude, and by follow, I’m not referring to how well someone promotes themselves online. Don’t be deceived by social media. You can have a million likes, shares, followers on Instagram and Twitter and be a terrible leader. Being humble is not about self promotion, it’s about promoting others selflessly.
It doesn’t matter what you drive, what you wear, who you’re friends with, or who you’re dating–being a leader is holistic, and despite everyone else’s attempts to stand apart, the leader just does so naturally.
Example is not the best form of leadership—it is the only form of leadership.