All great leaders began as followers. They became great leaders because they were intelligent followers.
With few exceptions, one who can’t follow a leader intelligently can not become an effective leader.
And one who can follow intelligently is the one who develops into a leader most rapidly. The intelligent follower has many advantages, but the greatest is having access to the leader to gain knowledge.
Obviously, leaders need to be trusted.
Obviously, a leader who is trusted is far more effective than one who is not.
But trust is a complex, fragile thing, full of many layers. So one needs to be careful.
It’s a lot harder to win back after you’ve lost it. So you want to focus on *not* losing it in the first place.
And trust is not monolithic, not one dimensional. It has many attributes. Some come naturally to some and others not, but leaderships can and should, be a set of skills you intentionally develop.
In the end a leaders trust is earned, it does not come with your title.
The Major Attributes of Leadership
The following are important factors of leadership:
1. Unwavering Courage based upon knowledge of self and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader for very long.
2. Self-control. People who cannot control themselves can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.
3. A Keen Sense Of Justice. Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his or her followers.
4. Definiteness Of Decision. People who waver in decisions show that they are not sure of themselves. They cannot lead others successfully.
5. Definiteness Of Plans. The successful leader must plan the work, and work the plan. A leader who moves by guesswork without practical, definite plans is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later it will land on the rocks.
6. The Habit Of Doing More Than Paid For. One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leaders, to do more than they require of their followers.
7. A Pleasing Personality. No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect leaders who do not score highly on all factors of a pleasing personality.
8. Sympathy And Understanding. Successful leaders must be in sympathy with their followers. Moreover, they must understand them and their problems.
9. Mastery Of Detail. Successful leadership calls for mastery of details of the leader’s position.
10. Willingness To Assume Full Responsibility. Successful leaders must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and shortcomings of their followers. If they try to shift this responsibility, they will not remain leaders. If followers make mistakes and become incompetent, it is the leader who has failed.
11. Cooperation. Successful leaders must understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce followers to do the same. Leadership calls for power, and power calls for cooperation.
– An excerpt on leadership from Napoleon Hill’s book – “Think and Grow Rich”