As someone who specializes in helping to build great leaders, I often get asked the question, “What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?” This is a question that causes the wheels in my brain to start turning because my entire life has been a gathering of the great knowledge that other leaders have instilled in me. As a leader, I have grown tremendously through the wisdom of others.
I can now confidently say that being a good leader is about living in a state of preparation for bigger and better things. It’s about instilling in yourself a spirit of faith and the ability to communicate your vision to others. Most of all, it’s about cultivating the favor of God. In today’s blog, I want to share with you ten pieces of advice from ten great leaders in hopes that you feel inspired to not just to live your life, but lead it.
Align Your Vision with Reality
You may have a vision that has been lingering in the back of your mind for some time now. Maybe you aspire to own a business of your own. Or hope to free yourself from debt that is holding you back. These desires tug at your heart but you’ve learned, or managed, to push them aside. “Maybe someday,” is the tiny bit of hope that you hold on to. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why am I living like this?” When I speak of leadership, I’m not just talking about leader others, but also about leading yourself. These visions in which you have don’t have to be distant longings in which you yearn for on a daily basis.
If you want to reach your goals, you have to be willing to immerse yourself into the unknown and get yourself in the game. I know, because I used to be in your shoes. Many of my days were spent thinking about achieving greatness but never really taking the steps needed for success. I can tell you that half of the battle is just getting your own two feet on the ground and getting started. Make your vision a priority. So much so that you don’t allow yourself to set it on the back burner, not even for a minute!
1. “The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the steps. ”
2. “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Jack Welch
When you step out into the world as a leader, uncertainty is bound to become a part of your experience. One of the key strategies people within positions of leadership quickly learn is how to persist in the face of uncertainty. When it comes to making decisions, rarely will there be a time when you have all the knowledge and information at your fingertips. If the direction you want to be heading is forward, then you need to learn to expect and embrace the feeling of the foreign. In other words, you need to be okay with not knowing everything. Yet, at the same time, possess the capability to make important decisions.
Entering into the unknown as a leader can be intimidating, but it can also unlock opportunities for innovation and progress. Many times, the best things in life are right outside of our comfort zone. How do I know this? It’s because I took this risk myself! I was a pastor my entire life and when I retired, I decided to venture into the uncertainty with the faith that God would help me reach my calling. If I can navigate the waters of uncertainty, then so can you! My advice is to lead through uncertain times with a strong sense of purpose. Use your vision as a moral compass. Find the opportunity in every challenge and use adversity as a way to build resilience and practice adaptability.
3. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
4. “Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.” John Zenger
Stand With Your People
Your job as a leader isn’t to stand above your people, but rather stand alongside them. When you’re invested in the success of others and empowered to see them achieve greatness, you are walking the true path of leadership. When the time comes that you can eliminate the idea that leadership is about control, you can begin to see that the people around you are your greatest resource, rather than your greatest competitors. The most powerful of leaders are those that empower others to become a part of their vision. They never walk their path alone. The very essence of effective leadership is rooted in empowerment, not personal agendas. Wise leaders know that a position of leadership doesn’t necessarily make someone a leader. True leaders measure their success by their capability and potential to inspire others to reach their ambitions.
5. “You manage things; you lead people.” Grace Murray Hopper
6. “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” Harvey S. Firestone
You can try hardest to be the best leader in the world, but if you don’t have wisdom, you will fall short. Wisdom is the ability to look deep within yourself and recognize right from wrong. The capability to decipher good judgments from bad judgments. Wisdom isn’t innate to us, but we can all become the manifestation of God’s wisdom by simply asking Him. James 1:5 reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” There are a lot of voices and noise in this world, but the wisdom of God is clear. A person of understanding will work to draw out this wisdom through prayer. If you feel that you lack wisdom as a leader, don’t be afraid to get alone with God, get quiet, and pray.
7. “The most effective way to lead is to lead from within.” Lolly Daskal
8. “Wisdom equals knowledge plus courage. You have to not only know what to do and when to do it, but you have to also be brave enough to follow through.” Jarod Kintz
Great leaders pave a path of success for others to follow. One of the greatest things leaders can do is provide a healthy growth environment. When we help people gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, we are in turn helping them become more of who they are. When you set out to inspire greatness in others, you will begin to accumulate divine connections in your life. God creates these divine connections in our lives because they are a part of His bigger plan for us.
I used to think that my purpose was to build bigger barns for myself. I know that God had something else in mind for me. God showed me that I can help others use their wealth to make a kingdom impact and that my true purpose lies in helping others achieve greatness. God shows no favoritism, and what He will do for me, He will do for you. If great leadership is in your heart, trust that God will lead you there.
9. “You are not here merely to make a living…you are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” Woodrow Wilson
10. “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” Ronald Reagan
Great leadership is about learning to lead yourself so you’re qualified and empowered to lead others to success. If you want to find, follow, and fulfill your destiny so that you can help others do the same, then I hope you consider purchasing my brand new book titled, Leadership Mastery. If you purchase a copy through this link, you’ll receive a free feature message on my new book! I know this book will help you avoid the pitfalls of poor leadership, and become the leader you were meant to be!