Two keys to successful leadership are doing it for the right reasons and being ready at the right time in your career.

Why do the leaders we want to follow seek out this tremendous responsibility?

Leaders love seeing others win and helping them grow.  They desire to achieve an important and valuable mission.  They want to build and sustain a true team.  They are culture creators defining and protecting a healthy work culture where employees thrive.  All of this drives truly effective leaders.

Although still very human and quite fallible, leaders know they must try to avoid ego, self-pity, personal grudges, losing their temper, getting offended by unfair criticism, and seeking self-gain.  Real leaders do not do it to be congratulated, receive the credit, win awards, or hear applause.

Leaders make decisions and accept responsibility.  They do not try to hide or play it safe.  They do not blame others.  They always want to hear the truth even when it’s bad news.  They seek out different perspectives.  Leaders listen to and act on valid criticism.

Leadership skills are not magically acquired by suddenly holding a formal title.  It takes years of successful and progressive roles and handling different responsibilities to prepare an individual to be a genuine leader.  You first must excel as a follower to become a true leader.

Leaders are learners and have a lifelong commitment to professional development. They are always looking for opportunities to enhance their education, knowledge, and competencies.

Leaders are either prepared to succeed or fail on day one. Leadership is not an entry level job. Please first take time to secure the appropriate experience, mentoring, and personal and professional development before asking others to give you this job.

Know who you are and who you are not and why you want to do it before you seek to be a leader. Be truly ready for the role.  It is not for everyone and wanting is often more attractive than having. If you are doing it for the right reasons at the right time, it can be one of the most positive and rewarding experiences in the universe.


From the Teacher: Leadership Lessons with Dr. Saviak is a weekly column with the esteemed Joseph C. Saviak, Ph.D., J.D., M.A., M.S., Management Consulting & Leadership Training

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