Four Secrets of Leadership

What comes up into your mind when you hear the word leadership?

  • Do you think about a politician giving a speech to a group of people?
  • Do you think about a sergeant shouting at their soldiers to motivate them?
  • Do you think about a businessperson explaining their strategy to their managers in a serious tone?

When we think about leadership, we immediately think about communication skills. It’s not a secret that communication skills are a fundamental part of leadership. Hence, this post is not about communication skills.

Is the biggest secret of leadership paying people to do things?

Sure, money is a great motivator. People want to be paid fairly. They would go the extra mile for a royal bonus or payoff. But again, paying people is not a leadership secret. It’s an obvious strategy. So, this post isn’t about motivating people with money either.

So, what is the secret I’m talking about? Here it comes.

People do what you do, not what you tell them to do.

Most parents realize that their children imitate them. Children don’t do as their parents say. They do as their parents do.

Show, Don’t Tell

There’s a rule in writing fiction: “Show, don’t tell.” The same rule applies to leadership as well. You can tell your followers as much as you want what you want them to do. Your impact will be very limited.

If you want to have a huge impact, do what you want your followers to do. Not, only once, but over and over, until your followers start imitating you. This is the biggest secret of leadership. However, it doesn’t end there. There are a few more.

People will follow your lead, if they know you’ve got their best interests at heart.

Managing people in a way to profit off their work by minimizing their interests and maximizing yours is not leadership. With that approach, you’ll be able to influence people to the extent you pay them, not any further.

If you can convince people that you’ve got their best interests at heart, they will go the extra mile for you. They will fight to death if they have to. That’s a winning business strategy as well.

Responsibility

The leader is the person who takes the biggest responsibility in an organization or community. They are the person who takes the biggest risk. If the business or the organization fails, the leader is the person who’s going to take the biggest hit.

Value

The leader is the person who adds the biggest value to the organization. Sometimes, it’s the founder of a business, but sometimes, it’s a middle manager, who holds the whole organization together. Like the title of a book by Robin Sharma suggests, you don’t need a title to be the leader.

Summary

People follow leaders who have good communication skills and who pay them well, but there are other, less known leadership secrets.

  • People do as you do, not what you tell them to do.
  • People will follow your lead, if they know you have their best interests at heart.
  • People will follow the person who takes the most risk, who has the greatest responsibility.
  • People will follow the person who adds the most value.

Your Turn

What do you think about the leadership secrets discussed in this post? Are there any leadership secrets that I forgot to mention here? Let us know in the comments.

Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly roundup of my latest posts.

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