Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5 Ways to Live Life Like a Leader

BDPA Foundation blog welcomes guest blogger Heather Johnson. She writes on the subject of California teaching certificates. We are pleased that she agreed to share information about leadership with us. Enjoy her blog post below...

You may think you know what characteristics go into the making of a leader, but unless you don the mantle yourself, you’re never going to know how hard the position really is. Truth be told, a leader has a perpetual Sword of Damocles hanging over his/her head. The mark of a great leader is to be aware of this danger but not let it rule his/her every thought and action.

Come to think of it, we are all leaders in some form or the other – we lead and guide ourselves throughout our lives, from the time we’re old enough to think for ourselves. To be a successful leader, you must:

  1. Think a lot: You don’t have to be active all the time to prove you’re a good leader; thinking and taking stock of a situation and weighing the pros and cons before you act or before you ask others to act is a more effective tenet of good leadership. A focused effort on the problems and issues at hand is what’s needed rather than a trial and error approach to problem solving.
  2. Adapt to situations: To say that a leader must take a few cues from a chameleon is an understatement – changing and adapting according to circumstances is the lifeblood that makes leadership survive. Knowing how to act and take command, especially in chaotic and critical situations, is the true art of leadership.
  3. Accept your faults and admit to mistakes: A good leader is not perfect, but he/she strives to be. The most important thing is not never failing at all, but in remembering the lessons learnt each time you don’t taste success. Ignoring your shortcomings is akin to sweeping the dirt under the rug – a day will come when the mound becomes too large to stay hidden. Leaders must lead by example; what they expect of their followers, they must do themselves.
  4. Hold on to ethics and values: A leader with no sense of values does not earn the respect of his/her team. Ethics and morality are extremely important, especially when you’re in the public eye. One small slip is all it takes to lose all the reputability and respectability you’ve strived to build over the years. It’s not enough to just talk about values; you must put your money where your mouth is and practice those values in your day to day life, whether in or out of the spotlight.
  5. Talk not lecture: A good leader talks to his/her team members, not at them. They don’t lecture or command, instead they inspire and motivate. They accord credit where it’s due, praise in public and punish in private.
Some people are lucky to be born with the traits of leadership while others must acquire the skill and hone it with practice and experience. Even if we’re not leaders in the eyes of the world, there’s much to be gained in adhering to leadership principles in our private lives.

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