I am in the process of writing a book about leadership and, within the research, I have been blessed to have interviewed some fantastic leaders, within well known brands and companies across the UK.
These leaders have unearthed some amazing insights and observations into the art of leadership. However the most powerful thing I learnt while conducting these interviews is: Never ask a leader what leadership is.
I discovered that when I asked this question, almost every leader jumped to a generic answer.
“Set a compelling vision”, “Lead by example”, “Be inspirational” are some of the answers you will get if you ask a leader what makes great leadership.
Conversely, when you ask about their memories of the best leader they ever had, a completely different set of answers emerge. You see, they start thinking like a follower and because of that their answers then link directly and deeply into their core values and to the type of leader they aspire to be.
It’s the same for us all, rather than thinking leadership is a formula. Instead think about the best leader you have ever had and why you decided to follow them. This is the key to you becoming the best leader you can ever be, because the reason you followed was intrinsically meshed with your values and beliefs.
Your values and beliefs are the reason why others will follow you.
The fundamental truth is, there is no formula for leadership. If there was, it would be common knowledge by now and we would all have cracked it.
All we can ever do is be the best version of ourselves. The best version of you is the best leader you will ever become.
The idea that you can formulate leadership is quite simply ridiculous. Examine the greatest leaders in history. They all did different things, acted in different ways and communicated uniquely. The only thing they have in common is authenticity. They stuck by their values and beliefs… and people followed.
The fascinating thing that we tend to forget, is that to be a leader you need followers… not employees… followers. People will only follow if they choose too. People will follow you if they connect in an authentic and compelling way to you. It cannot be forced.
You know this to be true because you have been a follower at least once in your life. And when you followed you did it because you believed in that person, not because you were told to.
Therefore, if you want to be a great leader, all you have to do is become the best version of yourself… and when people decide to follow, you become a leader.
Don’t follow a formula. Instead ask why you decided to follow. If you can understand why you followed, then you will have the key to unlocking your leadership potential.
If you want to learn more about reaching your leadership potential Click here.