of diplomacy is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that he looks forward to the trip.
Similarly, leadership could be the ability to tell someone to go to heaven in such a way that he looks forward to
the trip – having or making a worthwhile cause and then creating the best path to achieving
doesn’t just happen with wars, politics, big business and larger crises – we all have the opportunity to exercise
leadership in our families and communities every day. And it’s often the smallest things – helping someone across
the road, giving a struggling school-friend encouragement, offering to take out the rubbish or wash the dishes.
Leadership happens in the smallest ways so try it at home first, as that gives you the chance to see just how
rewarding it can be.
When leadership is thrust
up on us
Winston Churchill said, “I was not
the lion but it fell to me to give the lion’s roar.” His nation was at war and he found himself at the head of it.
He could have stepped down but no, he stepped up and gave his best. When you’re thrust into a leadership situation
– a neighbourhood dispute, a road accident or getting your expectant wife to hospital – we find new abilities and
qualities within us. There is never a chance not to find our greatness.
1 – A worthwhile
The first step
is to see the end – see the project completed. What do you want to achieve?
Help your little brother with his school work.
Make your neighbourhood safe.
Help your colleagues deal with their redundancies as best they
Organise your grandmother’s funeral in such a way that everyone’s feelings are
Stevenson said, “It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a
horse.” It has to be a cause or a result you’re proud of and there is integrity in whatever it takes
to achieve it.
2 – Steps to
You have your cause.
Now, what are the steps to achieving it?
If it’s a vehicle
accident, planning has to be immediate and in your head – ask for someone to phone, ask if there are medical
people available, ask if anyone can help.
If you’re planning
your wedding, you have a lot longer to plan. Start with the end in mind:
How do you want to feel after the
How do you want your
bride/bridegroom to feel after the event?
How do you want to your
friends and relations to feel afterwards?
To have the event of
your dreams and the perfect ending, what do you need to do to achieve that? One aim may be to have no
financial stress. So you work out, in tiny detail, exactly what you have to spend and from that, you can
start to add up all the costs to create this event.
3 – Who do you involve?
No leader works alone.
A true leader finds the best people for each task and finds ways to encourage the best out of each person.
With your object in mind, your more detailed plan in mind (and it may be written down in minute detail), you
now know who can do each task.
Roosevelt said, “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader works in the open, and the boss
in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.” So, you tell everyone exactly what the plan is – they get to buy
into what the benefits of the outcome are. You get them involved, get their ideas and – this is the scary part –
they may even have better ideas than you! A truly great leader is open to the best plan, no matter who suggested
4 – Do
In the end,
what makes a truly great leader is someone who takes the chance, takes a risk and DOES something. It may not work
the first time, as you hoped, but you’ve now got a base from which to do it better next time.
As Coco Chanel
said, “It's amazing how many cares disappear when you decide not to be something, but to be someone.” When you take
a leadership role, no matter how scary that is, you know that your world will be a bigger place and you will be a
bigger person when you’ve done it.