The Desire to Lead
Leaders have an intense desire to lead. This is what is called the royal jelly or the fire in the belly And what is absolutely necessary here is self-reliance. Interestingly enough, leaders tend to be very individualistic. They tend to be autonomous with a high need for control. They like to make their own decisions.
However, they also recognize that in order to get to the position where they can have control and autonomy, they have to be good followers. They have to follow orders meticulously. All great generals started off in boot camp learning how to be good followers of orders.
Leaders like to take command. They love to be in control and to take charge. Now, many people don't want to be leaders and not everybody needs to be a leader. But if you are meant for leadership, you have a tremendous desire and urge to take control, and your job is to prepare yourself to assume leadership responsibilities.
Take on the Responsibilities of Leadership
A leader has seven key responsibilities that never change in any situation or organization. Those who want to lead work hard at becoming the best in all seven of these areas.
Responsibility 1: Set and achieve goals. The best leaders have identified what needs to be accomplished in every area of importance to the organization and are able to achieve each of those goals. For business, that means setting sales growth and profitability goals and then leaving no part of the business untouched in the strategic and market planning to reach those goals.
Responsibility 2: Innovate and market. Don't keep doing what you or the organization have been doing all along. That's not the way you are going to get new customers. That's not the way you are going to achieve those goals that you embraced in the first responsibility. Innovate, and then sell — sell what you do, and sell what you've created.
Responsibility 3: Solve problems and make decisions. It is up to you to overcome setbacks, to hurdle the barriers on the path to success, and to make the difficult decisions that come with the position. Every unachieved goal is a problem unsolved. If you did not reach your sales targets, that's a problem unsolved. If you are still getting beat in your market, that's a problem unsolved.
Responsibility 4: Set priorities and focus on key tasks. No leader has unlimited people, money, or any other kind of resource. It is the job of the leader to know how to deploy the resources of the organization in the way that best contributes to the overall success of the organization. The fourth responsibility is also about time management. Time is the scarcest resource of all, and leaders who don't know how to allocate their time will fail.
Responsibility 5: Be a role model to others. People watch their leaders and emulate their behaviors and attitudes. Through your character, personality, and work habits, you must set the example that you want to see in others.
Responsibility 6: Persuade and inspire others to follow you. Leaders motivate their teams, their departments, or their organizations to believe in the vision, mission, and specific goals that they have set for the organization. A leader without followers is not a leader, no matter what his or her position may be.
Responsibility 7: Get results. Leaders are expected to perform There are no excuses. There are no acceptable reasons for not achieving results. The seventh responsibility is the most critical responsibility of all.
Like an athlete who wants the ball, a leader embraces these responsibilities. Leaders want to be held accountable; they want to be responsible for motivating the people in the organization and achieving the results required for success. Leaders recognize that success comes from a partnership with their people, but ultimately, they want to be the ones in command.
Be Ready to Be Accountable
Those who want to lead know that they will be held accountable for results, and they want to be responsible for results. They want to be held accountable for the success of the organization. And if something goes wrong, they are ready to accept the blame.
As a leader, refuse to criticize others for any reason. Refuse to complain about your situation. Erase the phrases “what if' and “if only” from your vocabulary. Focus on what you want and where you are going. And if there is something that needs to be fixed, take responsibility for fixing it.
Accepting accountability is the reason that leaders feel personally powerful. They have a sense of control over themselves and their lives. Accepting responsibility gives them confidence and energy. They feel capable and competent.
Those who make excuses, blame others, or complain give their power away. They weaken themselves and their resolve. They convince themselves that they have no control over what happens. Leaders believe that they have the control in their hands — otherwise, they could not be leaders. They could only be passive and resigned rather than taking the initiative.
Even leaders within a large corporation have a self-employed attitude. They believe that they are the president of their own personal service corporation. They have an entrepreneurial attitude. This entrepreneurial attitude emphasizes their sense of responsibility and accountability.
Now Is the Right Time
When you have the desire to lead, you don't let outside circumstances slow you down. That's why those who have the fire of leadership in them don't wait for the “right time.” The right time is now. Some of the greatest companies in the world were created during times of economic hardship. Walt Disney, Bill Hewlett and David Packard, and IBM's Tom Watson are just some of the leaders who launched their great companies in some of America's worst economic crises. Companies as diverse as FedEx, Hyatt, MTV, and Trader Joe's were all started during recessions.
Remember, there will never be too many leaders. There will never be more leaders than are necessary. There is always a shortage of leaders. Do you have the desire to lead?