12. Having a vision and a plan isn’t enough if you want to be a great leader. Leaders must learn how to communicate that vision with ease, clarity and conviction. Leaders know how to explain the reasons behind what they want to achieve or the motive driving them forward. Leaders know how to explain to others why things must be done or accomplished. Leaders know how to make others understand that the outcome will benefit all, not just the leader. By explaining the vision, leaders create an invisible bond that allows them to move forward together with strength in numbers. Above all, remember this, it is not the responsibility of others to listen to you (the leader), it is your responsibility as a leader to get others to listen to you! It is the leader’s responsibility to make others understand the goal.
13. Explaining or communicating a vision requires a leader to think backwards. By that I mean, they must see the end goal in their mind’s eye and begin to work backwards on constructing the necessary steps to achieve their goal. In business, when competitors want to know how you built a certain product, they first acquire the product and then take it apart to see how it was put together. This is called reverse engineering. A leader is a visionary architect of destiny; constructing a bridge between the vision and the necessary elements to get there. Leader must reverse engineer the goal: see the goal, visualize it, give it texture and then communicate it how to achieve it. Only then can a leader begin to construct a plan on how to get ‘there’.
14. Leaders must be dependent! In order to achieve any level success, leaders must depend on those who are around them. Leaders know the particular shapes of the personnel pegs who surround them. They know their people and where they fit best in bringing about a goal, idea or event to fruition. Leaders have to know people better than they know themselves. They must put people, not in a position to fail, but to succeed. Like the coach of any sport’s team, a leader’s job is to figure out who is best for what position. A leader doesn’t cow-tow to favoritism, nepotism, ageism, racism, or any other “ism”. Leaders choose people based on their skills and their skills alone. Leaders know that violating this principle (i.e., using ‘isms’) will inevitably bring about failure. Leaders who surround themselves with people for the wrong reasons, will always fail no matter the season.
15. Leaders have an annoying habit of never being satisfied! A leader always asks, “How can I…? How do I…? What do I need to…? What else needs to be done in order to…?” A leader never indulges in the “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve tirade or the “Won’t, Can’t, shouldn’t” mind set. Leaders look forward and look beyond limitations. Never satisfied, leaders always ask that visionary question, “What if…?”
16. Leaders have an acute affinity for The Law of Averages. With every ‘What if...?’ there are uncertainties. And Leaders know that failure is part of the game. Failure to them is a successful way of eliminating options that don’t work. They know that failure brings them that much closer to understanding how to succeed. Babe Ruth the baseball icon is remembered as a great home run king. But hardly anyone remembers how abysmal his strikeout record is. Leaders know that people, over the course of time, will judge you not on how many times you missed, but how many successes you’ve had. Leaders continue to keep swinging because eventually The Law of Averages kicks in. Like in baseball and in life, if you stand there long enough and swing often enough you’re bound to hit failure out of the park. Leaders never stop swinging, they just keep “lettin’er rip”.
17. With strikeouts or failures comes criticism. A leader shoulders criticism and shields it from his people. Like water off a duck’s back, leaders accept the ultimate responsibility for an action or outcome and then proceed to let it roll off of them. Leaders know that there are many people waiting to see them fail. A leader’s responsibility to himself and to those around him is to insulate themselves from the negativity that is borne of criticism. Leaders know that those who criticize are usually those who have never accomplished anything great. Leaders know that those who have never failed have never taken risks. Leaders know that criticism carries an element of envy. They know that others want to see them fail because it’ll make them feel better to criticize. Those who never take risk love to sit back in the cheap seats jeering. Criticism will always be thrown your way, a good leader learns to shrug it off and move on.
18. Good leaders never take credit; they give it. When good things happen a great leader gives the credit to others; never personally accepting the accolades. Leaders know that it takes a group to make something come about and he takes pride in creating a situation that made it possible. Leaders don’t enjoy the credit when a goal has been achieved. What they do enjoy is watching and listening as the team relishes every small victory along the way. Leaders know that giving credit is much more satisfying to the soul than accepting it. Leaders know that the greatest joy in leading is seeing those people around them surprise themselves when they exceed their own self-imposed limitations. Leaders are success voyeurs. There excitement comes from watching people grow and pushing beyond what they once believed impossible.
19. The essence of time is never lost on leader. Leaders realize that our most precious commodity is time. Leaders who have things to do are not appreciative of any event or instance that robs them of their time to get things done. Leaders are also respectful and mindful of the other person’s time. For instance, a leader will not ask for a meeting without having something of value to transmit. Leaders show up on time to their commitments, whether it’s an interview, meeting or social engagement. Leaders respect timeframes and will work diligently to conform to them. Leaders know that failing to meet timetables and keeping commitments would undermine their credibility in the long run.
20. A leader knows when to take council and listen to others who may have different perspectives to offer. Leaders know that learning is a never-ending process where each day can bring some new insight. Great leaders work to protect themselves from developing egocentric blind spots.
21. Leaders know who they are and more importantly their limitations. Success for them is about exploiting their strengths and compensating for their weakness with good people. As Clint Eastwood said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Being keenly aware of your limitations allows you to take action to improve yourself or seek out people who have those talents and utilize them. There is no shame in not knowing, only in pretending to know and misleading others.
22. Lastly, a leader is a Sentinel. A Sentinel was a person who manned the outposts of a village or small town protecting it from invaders. In today’s rapidly changing market, a Sentinel is needed to man the outpost of change; making groups aware of new things and coming trends. In this dynamic market economy a leader has to learn how to anticipate change. Learning to anticipate comes from experience, from failures and successes alike. The ultimate quality of a leader is the ability to lead and protect his group. A leader anticipates what lies ahead based on what he or she has seen in the past. Leaders know that they have been entrusted with a great responsibility; leadership.
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Copyright © 2004 by Victor Gonzalez All rights reserved. This article MAY be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, as long as the author’s name, website and email address are included as part of the article’s body. All inquiries, including information on electronic licensing, should be directed to Victor Gonzalez, email@example.com www.thelogicofsuccess.com
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