Written By: Zach Champ
Connect with me on Instagram!
About the Author: My knowledge and expertise in the art of leadership comes from two years as a student at a prestigious senior military college where I was a member of a 24/7 immersive Corps of Cadets student lifestyle, several years as a back-country trail crew member working in remote and hazardous conditions, and as a formerly elected student government President while finishing my associates degree at community college. 🤟
WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
What defines being a leader? Think of people who you look up to and admire in real life...
What type of character and personality traits do they possess? What is their demeanor like?
We live in a corrupt and unfair society. People who set an example with their actions and character lead the way like a bright light within a dark world. Real leaders bring people together. They attract all types of people around them, some seeking their help, others looking to assist. Be the light!
One key aspect of leadership is that good leaders cultivate teams! Leaders don't simply dictate to others what to do, they build and play upon the strengths of their team.
Remember the old saying, “there is no I in team”? It is impossible for one person to get everything done by themselves!
Great leaders spend the majority of their time building teams. They know how to identify an individual's key talents, skills, and abilities and facilitate ways to fulfill that individual’s wants and needs.
Most influential leaders will often sacrifice and go above and beyond to ensure that their team members' personal needs are satisfied while ensuring their organization’s objectives are completed simultaneously.
HOW LEADERS THINK:
Leaders think differently than practically all people. They can see the positive in any given situation or context, even when people are focused on the negative.
The key to success is knowing how to laser-focus on and define and build towards your goals. One way to ensure success with achieving goals is by making them SMART!
WHAT ARE SMART GOALS? SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timeframe.
Anytime you start a new project or undergo a new mission you need to assess the situation by writing down and developing specific and clearly established objectives.
These objectives need to be measurable in clearly understood terms of success.
They need to be easily actionable, and realistic, and you need to establish a clear timeframe or deadline for the completion of said goals.
By creating SMART goals we can implement our vision with focus and ease!
We were created and designed to strive for more! Developing rewarding goal-seeking behaviors is essential to being the best version of yourself.
An effective leader is proficient in the art of achieving goals!
JUST HOW EXACTLY DO WE FOCUS ON IMPLEMENTING OUR GOALS?
The first thing to do is to prioritize your goals. Often, when we envision a better future for ourselves there are more than just one circumstance in our lives that we strive to change. When working with a bunch of intentions and desires you have to sift and sort through them all and determine which tasks are the most important to perform first.
How do we determine which of our desires deserve more priority over others? Every person is different, but nearly all people are motivated by either internal forces such as their personal ambition and willpower, anger or revenge, or external factors such as pursuing wealth and achieving social status.
Knowing what drives you and the people around you will allow you to successfully attract and build a dream team for accomplishing your goals!
Once you know what your immediate and pressing objectives are, you need to move to the next step of implementing goals- meeting with your team.
Remember: It is impossible for one person to do everything. Following that train of thought, whenever leaders or managers attempt to hands-on control every aspect of a project or mission, they are doomed to fail. No one likes a boss who micromanages…
Top-notch leaders know that they need to create systems of autonomy within their organizations in order for their team members to be able to make rapid and quick decisions on the fly.
Letting team members have their own power and authority to make decisions results in a flexible and adaptive organization capable of responding to constantly evolving situations.
This principle of sharing authority and power throughout your organization is known as delegating authority, and it is a cornerstone and key principle of excellent leadership.
Productive leaders understand the necessity and importance of time management.
Procrastination stunts performance, and ultimately the only way to avoid laziness is accountability. How do we hold ourselves more accountable? By establishing clear deadlines with our goals, and by pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones.
Another key to success and avoiding headache and misery is to not make your goals more complicated than they need to be. Eliminate distractions and avoid wasting your time on non-mission essential tasks. By removing unnecessary and burdensome elements and expectations, you can streamline your mission and purpose to focus on your goals.
As a leader, you will want to understand various techniques for stress management. Experienced leaders know that stress and fatigue wears down performance and can hinder progress and momentum.
The best way to prevent stress is to plan ahead. By planning ahead and considering all possibilities you can avoid unnecessary stress and ensure you are in a position to succeed! You should always have a contingency or back-up plan as well, just in case circumstances don’t go according to your predicted expectations.
Effective leaders know how to identify their team’s competencies and weaknesses and integrate these various aspects into their missions. By knowing yourself and your organization's strengths and weaknesses, you can build around them and prevent them from being exploited.
HOW LEADERS COMMUNICATE:
Great leaders are masters of communication and human sociology and psychology. Leaders know that the most valuable resource at their disposal is their people!
As a leader, you should constantly practice and develop your interpersonal communication skills.
Productive leaders are not merely motivational hype men and larger-than-life egos to rally behind… They are actually emotionally invested in their people and show empathy and concern for their team. Great leaders build rapport with their organization and promote a positive, productive, and inspirational working environment.
Leaders should avoid talking all the time and dictating to everybody what to do.
Intelligent leaders LISTEN to their team and try to integrate the various knowledge, experience, and skill-sets of their organization into mission essential projects.
They drive and lead the conversation with purposeful and focused questions to get to the root of the problem or situation. The practice of paying attention to what others are communicating to you and providing them with responsive feedback is known as active listening.
You and your team shouldn’t be afraid of having difficult or confrontational conversations, but you should always approach tense moments with respect and tact. Arguing rarely solves anything and just creates more conflict.
If you find yourself arguing with a colleague, it is best to just pause the conversation and remove yourself from the situation until you are no longer angry and try again.
No significant project or team-oriented effort happens without the magic of negotiation. In the ancient world the art of rhetoric, or influencing people with language and logic, was considered one of the holy magical sciences of the Trivium- the three fold path of knowledge.
Just how exactly can we convince people to align with our interests?
Focus on the so-called four “C’s”- Common Interest, Conflicting Interest, Compromise, and Conditions.
When negotiating, your goal as a leader should be to find a solution that benefits everybody. Sometimes this is easier said than done. If it is impossible for you to find a consensus on a divisive topic, don’t be afraid to walk away… There is no point in compromise if it ultimately results in a net negative for you.
Remember how we keep referencing the importance for leaders to take time to self-reflect? Taking the time to work on and develop yourself is part of intrapersonal communication skills- or the methods by which we communicate with ourselves.
One of the best ways to help us organize our thoughts is by taking notes and journaling.
Writing and journaling can help us remember important key details, boost our emotional intelligence, spark our critical thinking skills, and improve our self-confidence through thoughtful reflection and analysis.
The basis of intrapersonal communication is ultimately learning how to effectively articulate our ideas, wants, needs, and desires!
ALWAYS PLACE THE MISSION FIRST
NEVER ACCEPT DEFEAT
NEVER LEAVE YOUR FRIENDS BEHIND