Go ahead and read that again...Leadership is about demanding focus and positive responses from yourself or from another in environments that instinctively drive distraction and negative reactions.
In other words... anyone might call themselves a leader when the weather is good and everyone's already in a good mood. But a true leader is something deeper.
Think about where and when you or your followers might react in a negative way or get distracted by the environment. A leader can and will consciously guide a follower through this valley, all the time holding their focus and demanding positive responses from themselves and their followers.
Can you do that? If you can't, you're not a leader yet.
Here's a horse training analogy: A great horse trainer does not avoid that which could distract or cause negative reactions in the horse. Instead, he/she will invite those things on purpose, even seek them out, all in the effort to train focus and demand positive responses in spite of the environment.
A poor horse trainer, on the other hand, will avoid these situation and never purposefully engage in anything that could distract or cause negative reactions.
One more time, said more clearly...
A good horse trainer seeks challenging environments to train. A poor horse trainer doesn't.
But a poor horse trainer that wants to become good horse trainer will risk failure in order to learn how to handle challenging situations. He/she will risk failure over and over again to master the tools necessary to truly lead. Do you want to be a leader? If you do... you must also risk failure. Just remember that failure is only temporary and it always gives the best education.
It goes without saying that you should stay safe and not risk injury. But your safety and education don't have to be so closely interlinked. A great horse trainer can safely lead and teach an unruly horse, even a biting and kicking horse, simply by standing on the other side of the fence from the horse. In time, that horse will give positive responses from the other side of the fence and allow the trainer in closer for more interactions. The same goes for riding. You don't have to be on the horse to demand positive responses. If you're clever, you can creatively think of ways to stay safe and lead/teach at the same time.
Be imaginative. Be firm when you need. Be kind and rewarding. Be clear and concise. Those are all aspects of leadership too, but the one thing that will always stand out as how to truly define a leader, is this simple statement:
Would you like to be a better leader? Check out my book on Leadership here.
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