Becoming a Respected Leader
Posted by Todd Smith
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John Maxwell is the most recognized author on the subject of leadership. He describes leadership as “being a person who has influence.” But what gives you influence? How is it earned? I believe the number-one factor in determining your influence is the respect people have for you. If people don’t respect you, why would you expect them to follow your lead?
My experience tells me that the most effective way to earn people’s respect is to consistently strive to excel at everything you do. When you give it your all, you will earn respect for your effort and for the person you become in the process. As people’s respect for you grows, your influence will grow accordingly. And when your influence develops, your value to the marketplace will increase.
Focus on Two Areas
If you have the desire to become an admired and respected leader, there are two specific areas on which to focus your attention:
The first is to develop in the area of personal responsibility. Begin by identifying the little things that will allow you to perform your obligations at the highest level and then strive for excellence as you master them. Whether you want to be a great mom, a call-center supervisor, or the owner of your own successful business, the key is to push yourself to perform at the highest level you are capable of reaching.
The second is to improve yourself and grow as a person. Here are four recommendations:
- Become a student of personal growth and study the habits and characteristics of successful people. I attribute a great deal of my success to my commitment to personal development. There are many choices in the self-help marketplace, but I prefer materials created by those who have actually been successful outside of their sales tool and speaking business. If you prefer learning by audio, I recommend Your Success Store.
- Subscribe to Success magazine. For less than $3 a month, you can learn fresh ideas and strategies from some of the most recognized and respected leaders in our country. My favorite part of the magazine is the CD insert containing leadership tips from these experts.
- Commit three to five minutes a day to either read or listen to my daily lessons. I suggest you download my daily podcasts and keep them in your iTunes library for reference at any time. Repetition can have a powerful impact on learning. I have been teaching and coaching people for decades, and I am convinced people learn more by listening than by reading. You can subscribe to my podcasts or download them by clicking the “Apple” icon in the upper right part of the Little Things Matter home page.
- Observe successful people, especially those who hold a position of leadership you aspire to achieve. Pay close attention to the little things, from their appearance to the way they interact and treat other people. I have learned a great deal in my life by observing other successful people.
As you begin implementing the little things you learn, stretch yourself to do your very best. Push yourself harder than you have ever pushed yourself before. Regardless of your age, education, or background, if you will strive for excellence to be the very best at what you do, you will quickly see your influence begin to grow.
Let me challenge you to be the type of leader you would respect, admire and want to follow. Great leaders aren’t born. They are slowly formed from the compounding effect of small daily improvements. Starting today, begin to view yourself as the leader you want to become. Then commit yourself to the daily process of constant and never-ending improvement.
Becoming a respected leader will open opportunities in your life that have never existed before. As you grow as a leader, one of the most rewarding and fulfilling benefits is the opportunity you will have to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
In every type of leadership position, the improvements you make in who you are and what you do will have a positive impact on the people you are leading. So, when you do the little things to get better, everyone you lead will get better.
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