The Great Leadership Challenge

If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the
key is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is
the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills, and
opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a
parent.

What’s important in leadership is refining your skills. All
great leaders keep working on themselves until they become
effective. Here are some specifics:

Learn to be strong but not impolite. It is an extra step you
must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide
range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength.
It’s not even a good substitute.

Next, learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake
weakness for kindness. Kindness isn’t weak. Kindness is a
certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell
someone the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate
enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell
it like it is and not deal in delusion.

Next, learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to
win the day. To build your influence, you’ve got to walk in
front of your group. You’ve got to be willing to take the
first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first
sign of trouble. Like the farmer, if you want any rewards at
harvest time, you have got to be bold and face the weeds and
the rain and the bugs straight on. You’ve got to seize the
moment.

Here’s the next step. You’ve got to learn to be humble but
not timid. You can’t get to the high life by being timid.
Some people mistake timidity for humility. But humility is a
virtue; timidity is a disease. It’s an affliction. It can be
cured, but it is a problem.

Humility is almost a God-like word. A sense of awe. A sense
of wonder. An awareness of the human soul and spirit. An
understanding that there is something unique about the human
drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the
distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling
that we’re part of the stars.

Here’s a good tip: Learn to be proud but not arrogant. It
takes pride to build your ambitions. It takes pride in your
community. It takes pride in a cause, in accomplishment. But
the key to becoming a good leader is to be proud without
being arrogant.

Do you know the worst kind of arrogance? Arrogance from
ignorance. It’s intolerable. If someone is smart and
arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant
and arrogant, that’s just too much to take.

The next step is learning to develop humor without folly. In
leadership, we learn that it’s okay to be witty but not
silly; fun but not foolish.

Next, deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the
agony of delusion. Just accept life as it is. Life is
unique. The whole drama of life is unique. It’s fascinating.

Life is unique. Leadership is unique. The skills that work
well for one leader may not work at all for another.
However, the fundamental skills of leadership can be adopted
to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the
community, and at home.

by Jim Rohn

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