Go to the local park and sit on the bench and observe the sweet little children playing, laughing, screeching and bickering. As an outsider, it may be easy to guess which ones might stand out as a stronger personality and perhaps be a strong leader one day. Most parents hope and dream about the day they have strong, self-assured and responsible young adult children.
What if they aren’t given the opportunity to blossom? What if they aren’t given tools to thrive? It’s then that these kids either learn to adapt and persevere or they fall through the cracks and become a lost number.
Whether a person learned as a child to adapt or if they learned life’s lessons the hard way, it’s never too late to develop our inner leader. It’s the leader in us that helps us overcome obstacles, want to fight for a better life or strive for excellence. Here are five tips people can adopt in order to tap into their inner leader and begin designing a sense of leadership.
P – Persevere – Those who become leaders don’t give up, they keep persevering. When the past seems too big, they deal with it and move forward with new tools to adjust. When others seem to “bug” us, they find ways to adapt to the personality style and move around them.
Everyone has hurdles that come our way, leaders find ways to acknowledge a problem and say, “OK, this is big, but life has to go on…let’s see, how can I keep moving and not let this overwhelm me and stop me from making the best of my situation?” Not only do leaders persevere, but they also learn from every situation they walk through, and then they come out on the other side using that challenge as a valued lesson.
Q – Quit Going it Alone – Great leaders use accountability partners and put support systems (support groups, Bible study/cell groups, walking groups, etc.) in place for keeping positive, for moving forward, for setting goals, for dealing with issues, or for simply having fun. It’s imperative leaders find an outlet for brainstorming, venting, or friendship especially since they naturally seek ways support others on an ongoing basis.
Walking through difficulties alone can be viewed as selfish, since we might be keeping someone from helping us in a time of need, and it may be a great opportunity to allow others to use their gifts of service. Many times, though, we find it difficult to ask for help, but if we maintain a system for checking in with each other and if we are open and honest in those interactions, we may not need to ask for help since our friends and support network will be up to date and will know when to step up and offer the extra encouragement. Accountability and support are imperative in nurturing the leadership mindset.
R – Responsibility – Sometimes we find our self in a situation where we feel hurt, angry, irritated, or confused. Despite the reasons or circumstances and despite how emotionally charged we feel, a strong leader finds a way to work towards moving forward. They consciously take responsibility for their own part in the situation. In other words, they look inward first, making every attempt not to blame others.
As they turn inward for self-reflection they might ask, “What part did I play in this?” or “What could I have done differently?” Instead of throwing blame and lashing out at those around them, leaders will often take the heat for their team or for a situation where they can actively play a role in seeking a solution.
S – Serve – Service to others is the ultimate sacrifice leaders can make. When the moment calls for it, we might find ways to keep an attitude of appreciation for others and consider ways to assist those around us. We can serve in the most subtle ways. Some examples of being in service to someone else’s needs might be offering a hug, listening, buying dinner, or spending time with an elderly person or simply volunteering around the house.
In the workplace, we might search for ways to go above and beyond, find ways to complete part of someone else’s job, offering words of encouragement or appreciation to those that least expect it. Leaders move forward with a heart of service and a desire to help others shine.
T – Talk – Leaders do their best not to let problems fester. Instead, they talk it out and persevere until they find a resolution. They don’t hold grudges nor do they gossip about others and stir up discord. Instead, they make sure they get to the heart of the problem and talk to those involved until the situation is resolved.
With some or all of these tips, a person can advance towards being a stronger and more self-assured leader who is secure in their surroundings. Whether these traits are learned as a child or whether they are consciously adopted as an adult, it’s never too late to design the inner leader that lies in each of us so we can walk confidently and make an impact in our circle of influence.
By Grace Milton