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How To Develop the Leader Within You - Part 1

Dear fellow daily scholars,


Learning how to develop the leader within yourself takes time. In fact, I would venture to write that developing the leader within yourself never ends. There is no peak. It is a journey that once you choose to start, you will have tons of trials and tribulations that try and hold you back from becoming the best leader you can be. You will have to decide how to overcome those trials and tribulations and how to face the adversity.


I will not pretend to have all the answers on what type of leader you should be or even how to become the best leader that you can be. If I did have the answers and were to just hand them to you and no work was required, it would not help you. It would be as if you got the answers to the questions on an exam ahead of time. It may help you pass that exam, but in the long term all that does is take away from your ability to see what you are made of.


What I will provide to you though is a series of questions that I have asked myself. You will have to answer these questions for yourself; however, I would also challenge you to ask questions to the people around you. Humans are social creatures, and we cannot do everything ourselves. I would suggest that we cannot do most things ourselves. We need each other. We need people in our lives to be truthful and candid. Molding your inner circle with people that you can trust to be candid and honest about your blind spots is the one of keys to answering these questions.


So how do we develop the leader within ourselves? This is a good question to ask yourself. This is not the right question though. The right question is why do you want to be a leader? The how does not matter as much as the why. If you do not know why you are doing something, then you need to figure that out first. Figure out how to articulate the why first.


I strive to develop the leader within myself because I love people, I love creating something, I love solving complex problems because it makes those people's lives easier, and I love seeing a vision come to life that changes people's lives for the better. Becoming the best leader that I can be means that I can build the people I love around me up. I can push them to become the best version of themselves.


I know my why, so what's next? Great question to ask. For some, the question goes back to the how? For me though, the right question is what is my ideal vision for a perfect leader?


I did a lot of research on this and decided that my perfect vision for a leader is a person who can mix 3 different styles of leadership.


First style of leadership - The Socratic and Curious Style. These leaders are really good at finding the right questions to ask and helping their people develop and formulate personal and professional goals and objectives. They take the time to get to know their people and find what drives them.


Second style of leadership - The Lead by Example Style. These leaders strive to be the best version of themselves so that their people have someone that they can follow. They don't ask their people to do things that they themselves wouldn't do. They build trust within their team by being consistent. People always know that these leaders will have their backs as long as they follow the example set forth. They hold themselves accountable and others accountable. They have no issue with having candid conversations with their people because their people know that they care about them.


The third style of leadership - The Visionary Leadership Style. These leaders are people that can develop a clear vision for themselves, others, and the organization. This is one of the most important styles. This style helps people adapt to change. They inspire their people to believe in themselves, each other and the mission. They can often see the missing pieces to the puzzle and solve the complex problems with the simplest solutions. They bring about the innovations within the company and foster an innovative mindset within their organizations.


Now that I know why I want to be a leader and what my ideal leader is, it's time to find out how do I become that leader? This is where the journey starts. The other two questions were merely the preparation questions. Without them you wouldn't be able to become the best leader that you can be because you wouldn't even know what that entails, and you would have no vision.


As I wrote earlier, you have to have the right people in your inner circle to help you develop into your ideal leader. This is the most important step. Choose your people carefully. Find a mentor. Find someone you can mentor as well. You may ask why should I mentor someone before I become my ideal version of a leader? Good question. Well to put it simply, whenever you learn something new and exciting, don't you like to share that information with someone? Not only does sharing that information help another person, but it also allows you to repeat the lesson that you learned. It helps you hear what your mentor told you. This helps you learn and grow faster.


Now that you know that you need to find a mentor, you may ask yourself how do I choose a mentor? I would say that you are starting to ask the right questions. Choose a mentor that you believe meets your ideal leadership styles and aligns with your vision of the leader that you want to become. You may need to seek this person out, as you may not have anyone in your life that meets this criterion.


Ask your mentor questions. Gather up data about yourself and your situation, problems that you are having and go to your mentor about possible solutions that you have thought through and get their input. See if you are on the right track. They may tell you that you are not. They may share stories of similar problems that they have had and how they solved those problems. Listen to those stories and take what you can out of them. Solving problems is a trial and error, you need to be okay with mistakes and risks that you may take. Mistakes are part of growth.


Ask the people around you different questions to help you get to know yourself better. If they are friends, ask them why they like being your friend, what about you makes you special to them. If the people are co-workers, ask them what they think of your work ethic and what they think you need to work on in the workplace. What do they think about you? How do they perceive you? Would they give you a vote of confidence? Be ready for the answers to these questions as some of them may not be what you want to hear.


The questions that you ask must be tailored to the type of leader and person that you want to be. For example, if you want to be authoritarian leader then you may not care or want to know what someone thinks about you except for do they respect your punishments and are they willing to fall in line? Now personally, I do not find this an effective way to lead. Though fear is a good motivator in some cases, fear does not lead to innovation and creative thought. If people are afraid then they are more likely to clam up and do as their told rather than tell you where their blind spot is, but this is an example of what questions someone may ask if they wanted to become an authoritarian type of leader.


I hope that part 1 of this series helps you think about your why and who you are wanting to become as a person and as a leader. As I always write, this is your life scholarship, you get to decide who you want to become.


From your fellow humble daily scholar,


Nathan




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