No matter whether you are the CEO of a large corporation, a mid-level supervisor or someone in their first position managing a small team, you have to lead others. T
here are few natural-born leaders; everyone else has to learn to lead, and I suspect that even those natural-born leaders have to train themselves to take on the leadership mantle by scripting themselves and practicing the role.
The problem is the last time I looked, there are no classes on leadership in grade school, high school or college, so learning leadership is an “on the job” experience. That means when you are thrust into a leadership role, you will have to figure it out. What are you going to say or do to establish yourself as the leader? How will you inspire others to follow?
Depending on your self-confidence and personality, you will have to determine whether you will be a brusque military type, a screamer, a motivator, a manipulator or a consensus-builder and then train yourself to convince those you lead to follow the path you are leading them down. If your project goes well – good for you. If your project goes badly, then you have to learn from that experience and figure out how to do better next time.
The best leadership lesson I got was from a teacher in high school who made me the leader of a small project. He forcefully told me, “If you are the leader, then lead. The only way you will learn to get others to follow is to know what needs to be done, explain it clearly, make sure everyone understands it and then lead them to the finish with confidence and authority.”
Looking back with the perspective of hindsight, it was an easy project and the small group I was leading was enthusiastic. Nevertheless, I was scared that I would show my lack of confidence. So I wrote out, then practiced everything I was going to say, double checked everything we did and no one knew how unsure I was that I could actually be successful. They thought I was a natural-born leader.