Now what exactly do I mean by such an apparent contradiction? Answer: That leadership begins (and thrives) with attitude. “Yeah, Hal, right! Sounds great, but what kind of attitude and HOW does someone get it? Like it falls from the sky, or what?” Good questions. No it doesn’t “fall from the sky,” but it does begin at the beginning.
Leadership begins at the beginning, without a following, without an entourage, without an expedition, without a master plan, without a goal line, and without intentions of superiority or competitiveness. Effective leadership starts simply, with a mindset that exudes integrity at every turn in the road.
Leadership starts with an attitude that explodes in words and actions which set examples. Exemplary words and actions– by their very nature, by their very implementation– attract the attentions and admiration of others. True leadership attitudes ignite, engage, motivate, and sustain without ever having to ask others to roll up their sleeves and dig in to work alongside you. When people step it up and rise to the occasion, others rise as well to follow.
A TRUE LEADER DOESN’T START OUT
WITH A GOAL TO BECOME A LEADER.
A true leader simply demonstrates the qualities of behavior that set her or him apart from the pack, but this is accomplished by taking action, not by talking about taking action, or by aiming to play a leadership role.
Neither do great presentation or oratory skills make a great leader. Walk the walk beats talk the talk. Track-records speak louder than words. Show me what you’ve done and show me how to do it are far more important follower requests than tell me how great you are.
Effective leaders are great activists who consistently strive to teach and motivate by quietly doing. He or she is a great innovator, and a great solutions creator who takes entrepreneurial pursuits to completion, who doesn’t stop short with an idea, and who thrives on the sense of accomplishment that accompanies each step of bringing an idea to fruition.
Leaders move constantly forward. They turn over every stone and readily adjust themselves, their approaches, and the processes they use along the way, unafraid of taking action without having all the information.
Focusing on the finish line is not leadership. Focusing on each step, as the fortune cookie might say, prevents one from falling on one’s face, and almost always wins the race.
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