The term “natural born leader” is kind of bullsh*t, don't you think? Nobody is born a leader. People are born as little, screaming, crying babies who can't even wipe their own butts. Babies become regular-sized people, and then regular-sized people become leaders, but only if they work at it.
Some people are forced into leadership, but most people aren't. Most people have to work their asses off to become people others look will look up to because leading people can be really hard and uncomfortable. Being a good leader is even harder.
It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter which cards life has dealt you. You will always have the potential to be someone others look up to.
If you're the kind of person who hates public speaking and making decisions, this may sound daunting. It may feel impossible. It may feel like being a leader is going against your nature.
But, it's actually a really exciting process. If you're confident enough to make your own decisions successfully, there is no reason why you can't be successful in helping other people make decisions, too.
All good leaders share these five common qualities and experiences:
1. They have been through hell and back.
They've been bullied, shut down, heartbroken and cursed at. They've been put in their place. They've felt like a tiny ant on a very big hill. There is not a single leader out there who has not felt small, worthless or like a total piece of sh*t.
It's not success that makes you a leader. It's failure. It's trial and error. It's the ups and the downs and the years of feeling like life has been telling you to f*ck off that make you strong.
Strong people are leaders because they have seen and felt what it's like to be a little fish in a huge sea of sharks. And knowing you were a little fish who became a big fish is much more of an accomplishment.
2. They know how to communicate.
The best form of communication is listening. Leadership is about knowing how to talk to people and how to listen. It's about understanding how people feel and how they express those feelings.
Everyone goes through sh*t, and we all deal with sh*t differently. By taking the time to observe the lives of the people around you, you will learn how to talk to them in a way they understand. And people like people who understand them. It's a fundamental fact of human nature.
3. They know their weaknesses.
Sometimes it's not always about what you know. It's not about being a genius. It's not about having the answer to every question. And a good leader knows this.
They choose to use their strengths to guide others, while not letting their weaknesses bring them down. They know that they are every bit as flawed as the rest of us.
4. They understand the importance of teamwork.
Knowing that they don't know it all, they rely on their team members to pitch in and share their knowledge. They recognize each person has individual strengths and abilities to offer to the team, and they allow them to use those skills to make the group better.
They understand that fish don't climb trees, and they're not going to try to make them. In their eyes, it's a waste of time. They have more important sh*t to do.
5. They have a vision.
They are inspired every day by their passions and goals. Good leaders carefully evaluate their decisions in terms of how they will change the future, and they will not stop until they have achieved their goals.
Good leaders are easy to spot because they will inspire you and make you feel like you can rely on them. A good leader is the leading man of the movie. Leaders are the underdogs who fight their way to the top.