lighthouseIf you worked at a lighthouse…you know, a tower building where there is a light inside surrounded by glass windows on the top to help guide ships away from dangerous coastlines, one of your major jobs would be to keep the windows clear and clean of any dirt, debris and dust that could limit the emanating light.

In some respects this is what a leader’s job is meant to accomplish…to keep someone else’s light emanating and clear of debris (the light being a representation of a talent within). In life, we all find that there is always a talent within and a right way for it to be expressed. It is the leader’s job to help a teammate perceive their lives and actions in a way that will help bring about the best expression of their talents.

At its core being a leader is about cultivating a person’s relationship with themselves. This is tough but not impossible; a lengthy process but worthwhile.

True leadership emanates from the heart expressed through your beliefs and attitudes. It is what gives a leader the strength to speak the truth they believe in the face of dissenting voices. And it is also what gives the leader the wisdom of tender compassion to glance over a teammates hurtful perspectives and be patient yet helpful till life brings the appropriate circumstance for a lesson to be learned.

A person’s beliefs and attitudes are the things that can obstruct their talents from shining through. This is the arena, the beliefs and attitudes, of the true leader. Here are 3 tips that can help you begin to become the leader you want to be.

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1) Know Yourself
Before you can appropriately help another person, you must know yourself. Your talents, your values, your biases, your weaknesses and your goals. If you decide to not care about knowing these things about yourself you increase the chance of you unwittingly attempting to make the other person into what you need and not what they need. The classic example is a parent vicariously trying to live through their child’s action. Once you know yourself clearly and it’s written down, you are able to distinguish your emotions from the person you are trying to help.

2) Read
Don’t try to recreate the wheel. There are thousands of books out on leadership and even particular talents. Once you pinpoint a talent that the other person has, read up on it. Alongside your reading, or now-a-days, vlogging, you should be keeping notes (journal). In fact that is the definition of reading for understanding. A good book to check out is: How To Read A Book by Mortimer Adler. May sound crazy but if you want to be an effective leader…read about other leaders.

3) Develop Love
Love isn’t solely a feeling, it is a deliberate action spurred on by hope. It stays around even when faced with disappointments. Love goes much more deeper than pain. Love always cultivates the object of its affection. An old blog post of mine speaks to this best. Check it out here. This is tough to do but again worth it.

What other fundamental skills or qualities do you think leaders should have?

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