“Broadly speaking, there are two types of people in the world. One type is known as leaders, and the other as followers. Decide at the outset whether you intend to become a leader in your chosen calling or remain a follower. The difference in compensation is vast. The follower cannot reasonably expect the compensation to which a leader is entitled, although many followers make the mistake of expecting such pay.
It is no disgrace to be a follower. On the other hand, it is no credit to remain a follower. Most great leaders began in the capacity of followers. They became great leaders because they were intelligent followers. With few exceptions, the man who cannot follow a leader intelligently, cannot become an efficient leader. The man who can follow a leader most efficiently, is usually the man who develops into leadership most rapidly. An intelligent follower has many advantages, among them the opportunity to acquire knowledge from his leader”.
That was the full passage from Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich” where he talks about the qualities of leadership. Businesses and workplaces have rapidly changed since Hill’s time, but some things will always remain the same. Two of those things are leadership qualities and attitude. The attitude of a leader is one of the biggest determining factors in producing successful followers.
Attitude is a product of belief, steered by vision. If the leader doesn’t have belief in themselves and who they are, their purpose or where they are going, they simply cannot inspire belief in others. My own life dramatically changed when I decided to create a Mindset Coaching business. I had a worthy goal, a vision of where I wanted to go. I decided to exercise patience and persistence until I got there. Once I had my vision and a newfound belief in myself, my attitude also shifted in a direction towards that goal. Something changed inside me, and I shifted from a follower to a leader. My belief and attitude shifted based on 3 factors:
- Perception of who I am
- Why I think I exist
- Sense of significance
You must believe that you are a person of value who has the power to change and improve the people and lives around you (perception) and that’s exactly what I did. You must know your life has meaning and that you aren’t just put here to survive, but you have residing within you, incredible potential to make a difference in the world (why you exist). My existence now had a lucid purpose, to serve and help the lives of others. I can serve others because I understood no-one can live beyond the limits of their beliefs (Sense of significance) and I realised within myself that potential to help and make a difference.
A powerful vision backed by belief is the starting block of the inspirational leader. If you firmly believe in that vision, then others will want to share and be a part of that vision too and I noticed that’s exactly what happened in my own business, my clients were inspired by own vision and dream. They follow, learn and grow from the qualities inherent in a leader and will eventually become a leader themselves. Ultimately the goal of the leader is not only to lead but to create leaders. Or as Mary Parker Follet put it, “Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power, but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led. The most essential work of the leader is to create more leaders”.
We all know those people in leadership roles, I hesitate to use the term “leaders”, whose tools of persuasion are fear, criticism and judgment. They do not inspire or create cohesive teams. They do inspire others to rise through the ranks because they themselves to do have the qualities which others look up to. There is no vision, no belief and they may suffer from a poor self-image which results in a lack the belief in themselves and what they are doing. They seek to take to fill that void in themselves, rather than give.
The human spirit is always for expansion and growth. When we are growing, we are happy, when we stop expanding, death (of the spirit) and desolation set in. We all have an inner need to grow, whether that is increasing our awareness, knowledge, wealth, family or spirituality. Athletes want to get faster and perform to higher levels. Fighters want to increase their strength, technical ability and speed. Sales people want to increase their sales, business owners want to increase their business and reach. Priests, monks and New Age Thinkers want to become more spiritual and increase their awareness of the universe or the divine.
The followers, therefore, must see something in the leader which they lack in themselves and by consciously or unconsciously seeking those qualities, they will push themselves to expand and obtain it, growing and fulfilling their own need for that spiritual growth. People, whether leaders or followers, should always be developing their characteristics or traits. Leaders should always be seeking to grow, improve and develop their qualities that got them into those roles in the first place. If they want to keep being an efficient leader, they will seek always to continue that journey of improvement. Intelligent followers are consciously or subconsciously inspired by those qualities and they will be motivated to seek those qualities out in themselves, learning and growing through the leaders and eventually becoming the leaders themselves through that growth and expansion.
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