Boiling an egg takes 12 minutes
A trip to the moon takes 3 days
High school takes 4 years
Becoming a leader takes . . . . ?
For those aspiring to become a leader, the question that most often comes up is “How will I know when the time is right?” But time is simply a tool; it doesn’t define you, your achievements or your readiness to make them — including your quest towards becoming a leader. Perhaps the more important question is, “How will I know when I am right?” The answer to that lies in your responses to these eight questions:
- Have you put in the time and work?
All good things take time. Don’t take shortcuts or try to rush the process — you must go through it. The biggest challenge young leaders face is an unrealistic perception of the time it takes to earn the responsibility to lead. The most important thing is PATIENCE.
- Are you respected for your actions and example?
Without a doubt, your achievements and effort are crucial in your quest to achieve a leadership role. However, the actions you exhibit and the examples you set for others will be the primary reasons for your promotion to leadership roles. Make sure your priorities are in order… you never know when people are watching.
- What is your “why”?
Your “why” will give your life clarity and purpose — and as a result, it will shape who you are and you will clearly know what you want out of life. When you know your perspective about life, you can achieve amazing things. This will be the foundation for your growth as you climb the ladder to success. To find your why, dig deep and practice some basic self-awareness. What are your strengths? What can you contribute? What are your core principles that make you unique?
- Can you accept that everything will be your fault?
You read that correctly. Everything will be your fault — everything. In order to be an effective and respected leader, you must be willing to be accountable for not only your actions, but also those of your team. When something goes wrong, are you prepared to put your ego aside, accept the constructive criticism and then implement change while accepting accountability?
- Are you prepared to fail?
You will fail more than you succeed. You will face adversity at every corner, and challenges that you didn’t prepare for. Successful people agree that at the core of all success is failure. The key to getting past it is to move forward. No matter how small a step it is, it is still progress.There are opportunities for learning every time you fail; find them. Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success!
- Do you know the difference between managing and leading?
And there is a big difference! Managing is about policy and procedure. Leadership is about a balance of policy and procedure, but more important, it is about empathy and gratitude. Leadership is about helping others grow, and having the ability to influence and inspire others. It is not about authority or power. Respect the role.
- Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses?
Self-awareness is an amazing skill that allows you to know more about yourself, how to manage yourself, and finally, how to be honest with yourself. It is vital that you are aware of your strengths, just as much as your weaknesses. Focus on those strengths, but spend time developing the skills that need sharpening. Never stop learning.
- Are you prepared to work even harder?
Be careful what you wish for — a leadership role will require more time, energy, and effort than you currently contribute. You will go from being responsible and accountable for yourself to carrying the obligation for others who also aspire to succeed. You will play a critical role in their development, and you hold the ability to empower them. One thing I can promise you, though, is that the reward is worth the effort.
Be honest with yourself on this journey, as leaders are not born, they are made. Find people willing to invest in you with their time, lessons and guidance. They are called mentors, and they are invaluable. Two of the most powerful warriors are patience and time.
When the time is right, when YOU are right, your patience will be rewarded.
Humbled to lead,