As owner of one of the fastest growing companies in Oregon, I know firsthand that leadership is a challenging position. You not only have to be responsible for yourself; you have to be responsible for your employees, your clients, and your company as a whole. It’s not exactly something that we’re taught in elementary school (although there are a growing number of leadership classes in high school and college programs). Being a good leader requires just as much mastery of self as it does mastery of communicating with others. Below are three ways that remarkable leaders set themselves apart from the rest by leading from within.
First and foremost, you have to trust yourself. You have to trust that the convictions you have are worth standing by. You have to do what you know is the right thing, even when people aren’t watching. This takes a great deal of willpower, self-awareness, and honesty. You have to constantly check yourself to make sure that you are being true to yourself and your beliefs. The more you do this, the more you will trust yourself, and the more people will trust you.
When your trust yourself, you are better able to trust others, and in turn others will trust you more. The only way to grow your company is to trust that your employees are doing the best that they can do.
Part of trusting yourself is taking ownership. When you fail, you must own it. When you succeed, you must own it. If you pass blame onto other people and things, you give those external factors the power to shape your work and your life. The more you own up to, the more you empower yourself to change them. Instead of looking at problems as just problems, look at them as opportunities to improve. I know this is easier said than done, so I’d like you to try an experiment: next time something goes not according to plan, take a deep breath, pause, and think not about what you should have done or what you could have done (even that is form of displacing ownership to the past-you, not the present), think about what you can do now to make the situation better.
The agency is no longer in the past, nor in someone or something else–it’s completely in your hands.
Another way that people place power outside of themselves is judging their own self-worth by external societal factors. It’s not a matter of how much money you’re earning, or how many awards you have, or what your job position is–what matters is that you feel that you have something that you are getting better at, a job that you can work towards mastering. Just as you shouldn’t externalize your sense of trust or displace problems that you may encounter, you shouldn’t externalize what makes you successful. It’s about getting to the core of what makes you happy: what you do in the world.
For anyone looking to read up more about success, happiness, and empowering yourself to be a better leader, I highly recommend checking out the Atlantic’s “Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy”.
For more entrepreneurship thoughts, check out the rest of my blog: BillGaffneyOregon.net.
“The best way you can trust somebody is to trust them.” -Earnest Hemingway
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become” -Steve Jobs