Great leaders never start out with their primary objective to become a great leader.
That’s why it’s so hard to become a leader from reading books and websites about leadership. This is also why it’s foolish to believe that leadership is something you’re inherently born with or something to be learned.
If you’re aspiration is to become a great leader, you’re almost guaranteed to fall short.
Leaders Emerge From Conviction
Here’s the secret to leadership: It comes from conviction.
Without a burning desire to convince the world of a better way, you’re merely a manager.
Without the conviction to stand in front of naysayers and feel sad for their blindness, you’re destined to blend in with the herd.
If you subscribe to my thesis, then the prospect for becoming a leader is amazingly democratic. You simply need to get convicted and lead the charge.
Perhaps this is why it’s so hard to define what makes a leader. And why great leaders are a very diverse set of characters.
To Become a Leader – Get Inspired
It all starts with a spark. Understanding this principle should encourage you to surround yourself with inspiration.
Filling your day with inspiration is relatively simple, but you must be intentional. For me, it looks like this:
- Filling my Twitter stream, RSS reader, and online communities with smart people
- Actively participating and leading in my offline community
- Making travel a regular part of my lifestyle, both domestic and international
- Pursuing and working with interesting clients that have big visions
- Daily writing, sketching, and photographing–notes for the future
If you ever intend to be the leader that you’re capable of becoming you must ignite a passion for yourself, a driving purpose–to build a thing, to change a thing, to be the next thing.
To Become a Leader – Have a Strong Opinion
Leaders don’t sit on the sidelines. They form an opinion and take a stand.
This is simply the natural result of wisdom and understanding. As you’re grabbed by inspiration you’ll naturally seek to understand the things that make you curious. As you dig in and experience these things you’ll begin to formulate an opinion on the way things should be–even if that requires radical change.
Leaders take that strong opinion and lead the demand for that radical change.
To Become a Leader – Get Convicted
This is the conviction that forms great leaders. They become obsessed with the better way, the way it should be.
Conviction often becomes central and transformative to you personally. This is what make you an evangelist and drives you to lead and attract others to discover what has convicted you–making you a leader.
To Become a Leader – Convict Others
Leadership is the seed of viral growth, but it must start with a burning conviction. Without a gnawing sense of purpose to accomplish a specific thing, often to fundamentally change the very nature of something–it is impossible to become a great leader.
What is your conviction? Lead.