A Chinese Proverb says,
“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.”
What would you take with you on your hardest journey?
Boy Scouts and survivalists will tell you there are 10 Essential Items you must have to travel safely on a journey. Some items vary, but the typical 10 Essentials for Survival are:
- Sun protection
- 1st Aid Kit
- Knife or Multi-tool
- Fire Starter(s)
Leadership is a journey wherein you must keep stepping, albeit one step at a time. What do you need to have on a journey of leadership? Are there 10 essentials for that?
Yes! Keep reading for The 10 Essentials of Leadership.
No journey should begin without a map, and any leader that begins leading without a vision is going to find him/herself lost before very long into the journey. A vision is a plan, such as: “I’m going to write a book about Leadership so that greater leaders will be developed and ready to inspire others”
A mission statement for a leader is like a compass to a hiker – essential for staying on the right path. You must know what action to take, and why you’re taking it. And, a compass can help you avoid pitfalls and cliffs you may not readily see. If your vision is “I’m going to write a book about leadership”, then your mission is to describe the chapters, the stories, and the lessons you’ll teach in the book.
An exceptional leader is someone who can look ahead and see a potential problem, and then take steps, or encourage team members to take steps, to get around the problem before it happens. If you’ve ever tried to find your way through a darkened space, you’ve probably experienced bumps and bruises. Like using a flashlight, a leader that can foresee obstacles in the distance will be less likely to need an ice pack or first aid kit.
Leaders not only lead, they feed. Once something is learned, an exceptional leader will then teach. The ability to nurture will lead others to be successful, and that success only increases the leader’s success, it never diminishes it. Positively feed others with kindness, knowledge and motivation, and you as leader will increase the same in yourself.
The first P of my Three P’s of Empowerment (found in my book) is PREPARATION. Can you imagine going on even the shortest journey without some kind of preparation? Enough said.
Sunscreen protects our skin from the suns powerful rays. However, it only works if you apply it BEFORE you need it. Courage in leadership is like that. Courage must be obtained before it is needed. And the time will surely come when it’s needed! A leader must be willing to stand up for his/her guiding values and principles in any situation. Otherwise, a painful burn will be the result.
When those burns, bruises and scrapes happen in leadership – and they will happen, the first aid kit a leader needs on hand is the balm of humility. Accepting our faults, blemishes and mistakes is never easy, in fact it HURTS! But if the wound is allowed to scab over without proper cleaning, medication and dressing it will surely fester, infect and impact our lives later on. It’s best to deal with it as quickly as possible. A humble, sincere apology is often the best cure for mistakes.
A leader does not have to know everything in order to influence and inspire others. In fact, some of my most influential leaders have been individuals who admitted their lack of knowledge on many things, but they knew where to look for the answers, and were not afraid to discover the answers with me. Having basic knowledge is sufficient – like a camper having one tool that is capable of helping with many tasks, an exceptional leader knows how to change and adapt to circumstances, and he/she learns from every experience!
Have you ever awakened in a sleeping bag inside a tent after a long night of rain? It’s worse if you have to potty, right? You know you have to get up. You know it’s going to be cold. You know that a fire will warm you. You know that fire will not start by itself, and that the dampness will make it a challenge to get the kindling lit. Knowing all of this, the exceptional leader will gather his/her gumption and discipline, and find an innovative way to start a fire. YOU must be that fire starter! The reward will not come without the necessary sacrifice and work. Be innovative and warm the lives of yourself and others!
Water is the basic element to life. Water is so commonplace that we overlook its amazing life-giving power in our lives. Without water, we die. It’s pretty simple. Exceptional leaders recognize another source of life that is often taken for granted. It is the knowledge that there is a life-giving power greater than we can fully comprehend. Call this power God, The Great Spirit, Mother Nature, whatever you believe. It’s important to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You have power beyond your understanding, and that power is given to you by a source you cannot see. The greatest leaders are those who rely on this source.
There you have it. The list of 10 Essentials of Leadership. How many are in your backpack right now? Which ones do you still need to gather? Don’t take a journey without these 10 items. Doing so could make your travel perilous.
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Make your day fabulous!