How to Be a Leader Regardless of Your Position in Life

This post was provided by Featured Writer Leslie Branch from Blog Services Inc.whose writing has been featured on numerous educational websites and blogs. If you are interested in learning more about pursuing a degree in leadership, check out Guide to Online Schools.

Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the team leader of a small department, there are certain key actions that leaders take which inspire people to follow them faithfully.

Be Open to Disagreement

When a leader is open to hearing the contrary opinions of their team members, it shows a level of respect for the team that is then reciprocated. Be willing to meet in person with subordinates to show your concern for their opinions – even if they contrast with your own.

Sacrifice Yourself

In times of difficulty, the leader of an organization should sacrifice him or herself before asking members of the team to make sacrifices. For example, before laying off staff, a CEO should cut corners in his or her own job perks, i.e. taking a temporary salary cut until the organization gets back on its feet.

Face Reality

It’s fine for leaders to keep the true state of their organization in quiet confidence, only sharing the situation with a select few higher-ups. However, it’s crucial for leaders to face the reality – however harsh – of the organization if they’re ever to navigate a way out of a bad situation.

Put Family First

Many leaders make the ultimate sacrifice of putting their business before their family. However, this often puts undue pressure on staff members to fill the role of both family and workforce, often putting in late hours with a boss who expects everyone else to sacrifice their personal life for their professional life as well.

Show Appreciation

If you’re happy with a staff member’s work, show appreciation to ensure a consistently high performance. Although bonuses and tangible job perks are ideal ways to reward high performance, a simple “thank you” in-person or by email can also go a long way in inspiring people.

Know your Weaknesses

Most people don’t get to be leaders without knowing and employing their own strengths. However, knowing your weaknesses can be just as important. Effective leaders demonstrate organizational management by surrounding themselves with a team of experts in areas they tend to be weaker in to ensure all bases are covered.

Balance Short-Term Goals with a Long-Term Vision

Unlike any other member of an organization, leaders must always have a grasp of the organization’s short-term direction and how it will ultimately fulfill their vision. For example, the CEO of an organization might know that its short-term priorities are cash flow management, but that the operations the company’s pursuing to secure cash flow aren’t interfering with a long-term vision, such as strategic partnerships.

Mentor Others

Effective leaders take an active role in inspiring their team to pursue their passions and encourage their endeavors. This may translate to offering professional development classes in your organization.

Be Humble

True humility, particularly from people in positions of power, can be inspiring and engender trust. Approach leadership from the perspective of “leading to serve.”

Be Frugal

A leader who splashes out on fancy cars and overly-ornate office furnishings, particularly after the organization has received funding does not inspire trust.

Don’t Ramble, Rant or Berate Others

Instead of “thinking aloud,” it’s important for leaders to organize and process their first impressions before blurting them out. Otherwise, team members could become confused about which priorities require action and generally lose faith in their leader’s decisiveness and discretion.

Meet Deadlines and Commitments

A president who fails to meet financial goals or a coach who’s late for meetings do nothing to inspire others to follow their lead. A leader who can’t be counted on to do what they say is in danger of a resentful, uninspired and uncommitted team.

Question: How do you feel that people can be leaders regardless of their positions
in life?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • What a great list! As I read I thought of verses from the bible that would fit each one – it is the Pastor in me. I do not feel like I could add anything to that list but I certainly was inspired by it!

    Thanks for sharing it!

    • danonleadership

      Jim,

      Thinking about what scriptures can go into each point is a great idea. Thank you for reading and sharing.

    • Jim,

      Thinking about what scriptures can go into each point is a great idea. Thank you for sharing.

  • I believe true leadership is based on genuine influence in people’s lives. You don’t have to have a position of leadership to be a leader, you just have to have a relationship with someone where they respect and look up to you. Mentoring, teaching, just being there for someone – they are all ways of being a leader.

    • Jason,

      Great points. Influence and a relationship are key. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Great stuff! I like the point on sacrificing.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for stopping by.

  • What a fantastic, insightful post. All of these are great from the top to the bottom.
    Start serving and helping where ever you are, a genuine leader just knows what supposed to be done, they recognize what is right and instinctively react towards that.
    M_

    • Marc,

      I agree with you about the wonderful list. Thank you for sharing.

  • Good points. I think a true leader starts by their actions across their life then naturally begin to step forward as time develops. The thing about true leaders is you don’t know for sure what they will look like until they begin to show who they are with their actions.

    • Floyd,

      Very true point about the actions of a potential leader. Thank you for sharing this point.

  • Great points Leslie, it’s hard to add to these! I would say to lead by example and always do what you say.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Kimanzi. Thank you for reading.

  • These are honest, straight-forward points that would help anyone! The only thing I could add is: implement them! Growing as a leader, and as a person takes a willingness to put good advice into action!

    • Susan,

      Totally true, it’s one thing to know them and other to implement them into your life. Like your point about “putting good advice into action.” So important for leaders. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  • This is something I come across quite often, people feeling like they’re not leaders. They’re often surprised when they find out that they are.

    Once they realize that they lead by influencing, it becomes quite clear to them. The mother who’s husband left her and she has to raise the children is a leader. The popular student who has a following.

    Everyone’s a leader regardless of the title that has been given them.

    • I agree Joe, we all are leaders- I think if more people realized that there is always someone watching, we might behave ourselves better.

    • Joe,

      Totally agree. I have also seen people who where leaders but did not consider themselves as leaders. Anyone can be a leader because everyone can influence others. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Love that you mention being frugal and mentoring others. In a world full of selfishness and greed these are important traits to have and to pass on to others. So is being open to listening to those who you disagree with- never know when you might learn something new!

    • TC Avey,

      Totally agree with you. The key is to be humble, frugal, and mentor others. Thank you for sharing.

  • The word Leader is synonymous with someone in charge that everyone looks to for answers. I think it’s the corporat mentality that has stuck with so many people why most don’t think they are leaders in their own right. Jeremy Kubicek says that Leadership is Dead it’s all about influence. John Maxwell also says Leadership is influence. Putting GOD first and then your family is crucial. Great post Leslie.

    • Lincoln Parks,

      Great insights quotes from Jeremy and John, I totally agree. It’s all about influence and focusing on the most important areas in our life like Jesus and family. Thank you adding value to the post.

  • Great points Leslie.

    I once had a leader at work who wasn’t good at putting putting family first, even though he was married with children. The funny thing is that I found myself carrying the same expectation for my department. I was allowing myself to be “mentored” in all the wrong ways :).

    I believe the whole post has laid it out well, but I would emphasize, stand on your values – do not be swayed, no matter the pressures.

    Great post

    • Ngina,

      100 percent agree with you about “standing on your values” this is so important. One of the values everyone needs is family. Having a balance between work and home is so important. Thank you for sharing your example and I’m sure you changed your focus to spend more time with your family.

  • I love what all the bullet points above all seem to point to: a selfless, understanding, team-building leader. Ego-centered and hot-headed leaders don’t usually end up very respected of esteemed. Nice thoughts.

    • Stephen,

      Glad you liked the post. These are all great aspects to have as a leader.

  • This is excellent Leslie… I’ve been thinking recently that everyone pretty much has an opportunity to be a leader, so to speak. I believe all that a title or position gives someone is an opportunity… it’s what they do with that opportunity that determines whether they are truly a leader or not.

    • Chris,

      Totally agree with you about what we do with our influence that really counts. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • be frugal! I remember a friend telling me one time that he trusts the pastors that drives the beater car over the luxury vehicle. Great advice!

    • David,

      Being frugal is so important. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

  • Everyone is a leader in some shape or another. People watch people to see how they act, behave, speak, and will tend to model some of the same patterns. Even for those who consider themselves leaders, but are not always leading, must beware. How else can you explain a child who speaks out of turn, and the parent never realized that their speach was being carefully analyzed?

    • Juan,

      Leadership is all about influence. Thanks for sharing the example and stopping by.

  • This is a great list. I heard someone say that everyone is a leader in some ways – even tiny children. There’s something we can do at each point.

    • I agree with you Loren. Everyone can be a leader. Thank you for reading and sharing.