Awaken the Leader In You: 10 easy steps to developing your leadership skills
by Sharif Khan
"The miracle power that elevates the few is to
be found in their industry, application, and perseverance, under the promptings of a brave determined spirit."
- Mark Twain
experts like to say that leaders are made, not born. I would argue the exact opposite. I believe we are all natural born leaders,
but have been deprogrammed along the way. As children, we were natural leaders - curious and humble,
always hungry and thirsty for knowledge, with an incredibly vivid imagination; we knew exactly what we wanted, were persistent
and determined in getting what we wanted, and had the ability to motivate, inspire, and influence everyone around us to help
us in accomplishing our mission. So why is this so difficult to do as adults? What happened?
children, over time, we got used to hearing, No, Don't, and Can't. No! Don't do this. Don't do that. You can't do this. You
can't do that. No! Many of our parents told us to keep quiet and not disturb the adults by asking silly questions. This pattern
continued into high school with our teachers telling us what we could do and couldn't do and what was possible.
Then many of
us got hit with the big one institutionalized formal education known as college or university. Unfortunately, the traditional
educational system doesn't teach students how to become leaders; it teaches students how to become polite order takers for
the corporate world. Instead of learning to become creative, independent, self-reliant, and think for themselves, most people
learn how to obey and intelligently follow rules to keep the corporate machine humming.
the Leader in you to live your highest life, then, requires a process of unlearning by self-remembering and self-honoring.
Being an effective leader again will require you to be brave and unlock the door to your inner attic, where your childhood
dreams lie, going inside to the heart. Based on my over ten years research in the area of human development and leadership,
here are ten easy steps you can take to awaken the Leader in you and rekindle your passion for greatness.
1. Humility. Leadership starts with humility.
To be a highly successful leader, you must first humble yourself like a little child and
be willing to serve others. Nobody wants to follow someone who is arrogant. Be humble as
a child, always curious, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge. For what is excellence but knowledge plus knowledge plus
knowledge - always wanting to better yourself, always improving, always growing.
When you are humble, you become genuinely interested in people because you want to learn from them. And because you want to learn and grow, you will be a far more
effective listener, which is the #1 leadership communication tool. When people sense you are genuinely interested in them,
and listening to them, they will naturally be interested in you and listen to what you have to say.
2. SWOT Yourself. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
and Threats. Although it's a strategic management tool taught at Stanford and Harvard Business Schools and used by large multinationals,
it can just as effectively be used in your own professional development as a leader.
This is a useful
key to gain access to self-knowledge, self-remembering, and self-honoring. Start by listing all your Strengths including your
accomplishments. Then write down all your Weaknesses and what needs to be improved. Make sure to include any doubts, anxieties,
fears, and worries that you may have. These are the demons and dragons guarding the door to your inner attic.
By bringing them
to conscious awareness you can begin to slay them. Then proceed by listing all the Opportunities you see available to you
for using your strengths. Finally, write down all the Threats or obstacles that are currently blocking you or that you think
you will encounter along the way to achieving your dreams.
3. Follow Your Bliss.
Regardless of how busy you are, always take time to do what you love doing. Being an alive and vital person vitalizes others.
When you are pursuing your passions, people around you cannot help but feel impassioned by your presence. This will make you
a charismatic leader. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, be it writing, acting, painting, drawing, photography, sports,
reading, dancing, networking, or working on entrepreneurial ventures, set aside time every week, ideally two or three hours
a day, to pursue these activities. Believe me, you'll find the time. If you were to video tape yourself for a day, you would
be shocked to see how much time goes to waste!
4. Dream Big. If you want to be larger
than life, you need a dream that's larger than life. Small dreams won't serve you or anyone else. It takes the same amount
of time to dream small than it does to dream big. So be Big and be Bold! Write down your One Biggest Dream. The one that excites
you the most.
be small and realistic; be bold and unrealistic! Go for the Gold, the Pulitzer, the Nobel, the Oscar, the highest you can
possibly achieve in your field. After you ve written down your dream, list every single reason why you CAN achieve your dream
instead of worrying about why you can't.
5. Vision. Without a vision, we perish.
If you can't see yourself winning that award and feel the tears of triumph streaming down your face, it's unlikely you will
be able to lead yourself or others to victory. Visualize what it would be like accomplishing your dream. See it, smell it,
taste it, hear it, feel it in your gut.
6. Perseverance. Victory belongs to those
who want it the most and stay in it the longest. Now that you have a dream, make sure you take consistent action every day.
I recommend doing at least 5 things every day that will move you closer to your dream.
Honor Your Word. Every time you break your word, you lose power. Successful leaders keep their word and their promises.
You can accumulate all the toys and riches in the world, but you only have one reputation in life. Your word is gold. Honor it.
8. Get a Mentor. Find yourself a mentor. Preferably someone who has already
achieved a high degree of success in your field. Don't be afraid to ask. You've got nothing to lose. Mentors.ca is an excellent
mentoring website and a great resource for finding local mentoring programs.
They even have
a free personal profile you can fill out in order to potentially find you a suitable mentor. In addition to mentors, take
time to study autobiographies of great leaders that you admire. Learn everything you can from their lives and model some of
their successful behaviors.
9. Be Yourself. Use your relationships with mentors
and your research on great leaders as models or reference points to work from, but never copy or imitate them like a parrot.
Everyone has vastly different leadership styles. History books are filled with leaders who are soft-spoken, introverted, and
quiet, all the way to the other extreme of being out- spoken, extroverted, and loud, and everything in between. A quiet and
simple Gandhi or a soft-spoken peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter, who became president of the United States and won a Nobel
Peace Prize, have been just as effective world leaders as a loud and flamboyant Churchill, or the tough leadership style employed
by The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher.
I admire Hemingway as a writer. But if I copy Hemingway, I'd be a second or third
rate Hemingway, at best, instead of a first rate Sharif. Be yourself, your best self, always competing against yourself and
bettering yourself, and you will become a first rate YOU instead of a second rate somebody else.
10. Give. Finally, be a giver. Leaders are givers. By giving, you activate a universal law as sound as gravity life gives to
the giver, and takes from the taker. The more you give, the more you get. If you want more love, respect, support, and compassion,
give love, give respect, give support, and give compassion. Be a mentor to others. Give back to your community. As a leader,
the only way to get what you want, is by helping enough people get what they want first. As Sir Winston Churchill once said,
"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."About the
Sharif Khan is a professional speaker and author of, Psychology of the Hero Soul, as seen on www.HeroSoul.com and acclaimed by bestselling authors Les Brown (Live Your Dreams), Mark Victor Hansen (The Chicken
Soup for the Soul series), Debbie Ford (The Dark Side of the Light Chasers) and many others. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Sharif Khan is a professional speaker and author of, Psychology of the Hero
Soul, a non-fiction,inspirational book about awakening the Hero within and rekindling people's passion for greatness. As Presidentof
Diamond Mind Enterprises, an organization devoted to helping people awaken their inner potential to live their highest life,
Sharif has dedicated over ten years research in the field of human development and studying greatleaders. His vision is to
inspire the world and make a positive difference in people's lives.
A dynamic and highly engaging public speaker and
workshop facilitator, Sharif provides keynote presentations and leadership development seminars that inspire, educate, and
entertain. His unique approach focuses ondeveloping each participant’s hero potential. “Sharif will inspire you
to become a better leader and pursue excellence for life,” writes Chris Ridabock, CEO, J.J. Barnicke and former Chair
of the Toronto Board of Trade.
Currently, Sharif is working on a novel about redemption and the hero's journey. He
is an avid reader and movie buff, a Learning Annex Instructor, and also serves as Director of the MetroActive Writer's Club
in Toronto where he resides.
Sharif can best be described as a true renaissance man who enjoys the arts and literature,
some jazz and blues,intellectual conversations at cafes, and just about anything new that moves and opens the soul.
|Life Training: Advocate Seven Ways to Build Trustby Gary Eby
A strong foundation leads
to progress and success. This idea applies to both a relationship and a company for them to surpass all the undertakings along
their way. When a new structure is being built, great attention is given to its most crucial part – its foundation.
When the foundation is faulty, definitely the whole structure will become unstable.
Small problems will become
big and small cracks will lead to a disastrous consequence. On the other hand, if everything started with a solid foundation,
the building will be able to stand firm and stable for a long time and might be able to stand a tremendous stress.
The building skill of the builder will depend on how strong the foundation he has created. It
is much like building a house with stone rather than using sand. With this, your house will not only provide shelter and comfort
to your family but will also secure you and give you the assurance that it will stand the ravages of time.
If we will not resort in building a strong foundation, the whole structure will be compromised and this may
eventually lead to unexpected downfall. Trust builds a solid foundation. Armed with this, success is almost reachable. It
solely depends on your personal choice to build trust on your relationship, otherwise, you are depriving yourself.
like that little old lady who went to the grocery store to complain to the grocer. "There's something wrong with this flour
you sold me," she said. "It's too tough. This morning I made biscuits with it and my husband could hardly eat them." That’s
like some leaders. “It’s not my fault!” That breeds mistrust!
don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Is money all
there is to it? Picture this out... A couple was having a heated argument regarding the family finances. Finally the husband
exclaimed. He said, "You know, if it weren't for my money, this television set wouldn't be here. And if it weren't for my
money, that easy chair you're sitting in wouldn't be here. AND, if it weren't for my money, this house wouldn't be here."
The wife looked at him and said, “Are you kidding? If it weren't for your money, I wouldn't be here!” Sad but
Unfortunately, her motive was all wrong. To build a strong foundation
in your company, or your family, building trust is the key. A strong foundation is not all about money.
To shed light on how to establish trust.
Number 1. Trust builds when
you always tell the truth.
Some people seem to sensationalize or exaggerate EVERYTHING. They can take the simple truth
and twist it till it’s unrecognizable.
Let’s look at this one old boy’s
job description. In writing up his resume for a full-time position, an applicant described his summer job as, Purchasing,
being responsible for the accuracy of daily cash transactions, and maintaining the morale, alertness, and well-being of the
entire office staff. Actually, what he really did was go out for coffee.
the truth and you’ll never have to remember what you said!
Number 2. Trust
builds over time.
This simply means that a leader sticks in there for an extended time.
Relationships are built slowly and surely. Trust, like pouring any firm foundation, is a process. Clear the land. Do a survey.
Lay out positioning markers. Dig and level. Pour the concrete. Let it harden ... over time ... it cures and hardens ... so
a huge building can be built on top of it.
Number 3. Trust builds when you are consistent.
1. Stay consistent with your Message, stay focused.
Stay consistent with your Vision, you have to put on the blinders ... have tunnel vision.
Stay consistent with your Actions. Will your personal actions be in alignment with the things you’ve taught your team?
Don’t say one thing and do another.
Number 4. Trust builds when you are reliable
Are you a person of your word?
If you make an appointment,
are you there on time?
Do you keep a promise?
5. Trust builds when you are vulnerable.
Are you truthful and open about yourself?
About what is really happening behind the scenes?
your people feel tricked or duped when the whole story comes out?
Number 6. Trust
builds when you show dedication.
When Dr. David Livingstone was working in Africa, a group of friends wrote him: "We would
like to send other men to you. Have you found a good path into your area, yet?" According to a member of his family, Dr. Livingstone
sent this message in reply: "If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want
men who will come if there is no road at all."
Number 7. Trust builds when you demonstrate
A true leader is humble, yet convinced of
his role. A true leader is contrite when wrong, yet convinced he’s competent to continue.
Life will humble you if you
refuse to humble yourself. After all, this is for your personal good.
One of the greatest
principles I can teach you is to build trust. It is powerful! You will never be on the top if nobody trusts you. But if people
will put their trust on you, they will be around for a lifetime. A team which puts trust as its foundation will go up the
ladder of success together compared to those created with mistrust.
Gary Eby, a member of the Jim Rohn Speaker Bureau, is gifted to teach deep
truths in a clear and easily understandable style. His messages are power-packed and often filled with laughter and practical
illustrations. He has shared the stage with great speakers such as Jim Rohn and Les Brown. Not only is Gary a sought after
speaker, but he is also an author whose personal development book Lefthanded Soldiers has received worldwide attention. You
may receive a free copy at cli.gs/garyeby