Most people believe they’re great leaders. They share it on job-interviews, networking events, and daily conversations. They automatically take the lead on projects, tasks and activities because they’re natural “leaders” and they can move groups toward victory. However, comparing yourself to others doesn’t automatically justify your ability to lead. Your proximity to power doesn’t guarantee success. And previous actions don’t always translate to present effectiveness.
A true leader adopts these three actions:
1. Endure Pain For Your Tribe
The effectiveness of your leadership is determined by your ability to withstand pain. Leaders—and black leaders in particular—understand that there are forces who attempt to distract, destruct and damage our credibility and lives because we are supporting our people. Leaders are heads of organizations and if they fail, then their people may fail. They continuously sacrifice their quality of life, including advancing relationships, obtaining resources, and enjoying time, to provide a better quality of life for their tribe.
You’re not ready for leadership if you cannot withstand the painful process of promotion. The more leadership roles you receive, the more painful situations arise. Great leaders withstand the pain of people assassinating their character and unrealized dreams. They live above societal standards while being shaped emotionally, spiritually and mentally for their moment. Leaders endure painful processes and attacks on multiple levels. If you’re not willing to sacrifice at a high level, then you’re not ready for leadership.
2. Desire Encouragement Not Recognition
You’re not ready for leadership if you’re doing it for likes, shares or retweets. It’s wonderful to be recognized by your peers, but effective leaders aren’t driven by that. They are driven by the purpose, which they may not want or enjoy, that is on their life. Maturing leaders desire our support, confidence and abilities to feed them hope. They want to know if we can encourage them by supporting their dreams, donating to their causes and providing sources of inspiration. They’re not fazed by awards and titles, they’re focused on fulfilling their vision. Leaders want to know if their tribe can encourage them through tough situations, not just feed compliments. Poor leaders are fueled by attention. However, if you want to be a great leader, then you must be willing to move in silence.
3. Properly Manage Their Influence
You’re not ready for leadership if you desire to use positions for personal and political gains. Leaders are sensitive to how they project influence. Leaders use their influence in a meaningful manner to advance their mission. They speak and move methodically because they know their presence holds value. Leaders understand that it’s not about how many people you influence, but how you manage the influence you already have. They protect their brand and respect their tribe. They don’t use their influence to advance agendas that will harm their following. They leverage their influence to mentor, advocate and sponsor others.
Finally, you must be able to lead yourself. If you can lead yourself, knowing all your issues and problems, then you’re better fit to lead others. Remember: leaders endure the pain for their tribe, desire encouragement not recognition and properly manage their influence for the culture.