The successful football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders are made; they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any worthwhile goal.” On this point, I certainly agree with Coach Lombardi. Becoming a capable leader is an evolutionary process and it takes sacrifice and commitment. If you set your goal to become a great leader, the experiences of your life and intentional effort will shape you into one.
Developing Key Leadership Traits
The great leaders of today and tomorrow will develop behavior traits that propel their teams and companies forward to success. So what are those traits? One is the ability to be authentic – to be true to yourself and to others. So many of us go on this journey thinking we must become someone that we are not. An “imposter” trying to validate the expectations of others. But the most exceptional leaders have a trueness, an authenticity that comes from within.
Another important leadership trait is to draw out the best contributions of the people on your team. You do this by creating the right environment where everyone is elevated to bring their best effort, ideas, and skills to the game. You aren’t afraid to ask your team really tough questions, then listen to their answers without jumping in too quickly with your own ideas. Doing this requires that you be vulnerable enough to admit that you don’t know everything. All people have these leadership traits within them, the key is to build awareness around them, practice them, and then master them.
Evolving Into A Leader
The first step in becoming a better leader is to set specific goals around leadership and your actions. This takes intentional effort to assess and identify the things you want to do differently, and humility to recognize that there is opportunity to improve. Working with a coach can help you create your goals to be specific, impactful, and aligned with your overall mission or purpose.
The second step is developing an ability to change and to try new actions and behaviors that enable you to grow and develop. This is where many well intentioned leaders stumble and stop, because it is where the hard work of behavior change takes place. Leveraging a coach as a sounding board and catalyst can accelerate your development and the capacity for change and growth.
Finally, you learn to receive feedback from your coach and others around you and grow and evolve based upon that feedback. Over time, you’ll learn to manage challenges and conflict, and become a better leader.
Meeting the Challenge
Because leaders are made and not born, you’d think the world would be full of great leaders. However, most people struggle to name even a few great leaders or managers. Why is that? Embracing the evolution process as a leader is hard. It requires courage, humility, sacrifice and a servant leadership mindset. Unfortunately, many stop along the way and do not finish the journey.
For those who do finish the journey, the rewards are great. Your team and those around you recognize when you are a great leader, they give you their best effort and they want to stay with you to thrive and flourish. When your team performs better, your business performs better. And then the winning begins.
I believe that is what Coach Lombardi had in mind when he spent all that time making Leaders.
- Great leaders evolve through a process; they aren’t just born leaders.
- The first step in becoming a better leader is to set a specific goal around leadership.
- To evolve into a better leader, you also must be willing to receive feedback and change and grow based on that feedback.
- Great leaders have the courage, humility and servant mindset to allow the evolution process to occur throughout their lives.
- The rewards of becoming a great leader make the journey worthwhile.
- A coach will guide you to develop specific goals around leadership, serve as a sounding board and be a catalyst to your evolution as a leader.
Leadership can be learned, but it takes hard work, commitment, practice and intentional development. The Leader’s Evolution can coach you through that journey. Contact us today.