«Self-improvement and leadership» by Pavel Verbnyak
Leadership is the ability to get extraordinary
achievement from ordinary people.
Are leaders born or made?
Good news for all of us: leaders are not born, they are made. Many people know Fyodor Ovchinnikov, an entrepreneur from Syktyvkar, who is well-known for his blog The Power of Mind. Now he expands his Dodo Pizza chain. His path was not easy, but he has never given up, and this is what he told me in a personal conversation.
Fyodor engaged in book business. When he met with difficulties, he read the biography of Sam Walton — it gave him strength. Learning about the situations, which people had overcome, about how they had achieved something, he gained a new perspective in analyzing issues. When Fyodor closed his business, left with no money, his mood was overshadowed by the fact that four years of life and a lot of energy had been wasted on an unsuccessful business.
He needed to make a decision and choose a way to move forward. His parents and people around him advised to stop «doing those useless things» and get a normal job. At such moments the biography of Ray Kroc came to his mind. This was a man, who had no luck in doing business until his 52 — he constantly failed. When he was 52, Ray Kroc implemented the idea to create the great company McDonalds and it turned his life.
Of course, this story was exactly what he needed at the moment, when it was important not to give up and continue to search for his own path.
After he left the book industry, Fyodor needed an idea that would motivate him in the long run. He eventually came to the conclusion that it was necessary to develop a business that could potentially grow to enormous proportions. Then he began to determine his own interests and realized that he did not want to negotiate with each customer, but to create a system. It was a pleasure for him to refine business processes, to build a business machine, where everything was optimized.
Next, he needed to choose a market, it had to be in a growth stage, stable and marginal. Mass catering and fine dining restaurants met these criteria. And Fyodor decided to cook pizza. According to him, this is not just selling everyday products, but broadcasting of certain values: service, speed, taste.
Now, when the company is developing, Fyodor keeps checking himself: what responsibilities can be delegated to others? The entrepreneur says that he has a real struggle inside: he always wants to do everything himself, but it is clear that in such case he will not have time to deal with other things. Fyodor says that making someone else do the work is like walking on stilts. You’re uncomfortable, you may stumble but, nevertheless, you walk faster because you have longer steps.
(You can read the full interview with Fyodor Ovchinnikov here: http://verbnyak.com/interview-with-fedor-ovchinnikov).
Now Fyodor is a successful entrepreneur, he is building a franchise pizza chain and he is not going to stop there.
People have to perceive you as a dynamic and charismatic personality. Respect is the key to high-efficiency leadership. The more people respect you, the more they are willing to follow you. Fyodor Ovchinnikov did not give up after the failure of the first business and started to build a new one, although, he had more difficulties then many others. He told about the business and failures in his blog.
Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you have no title or position.
From a psychological point of view every event and phenomenon are created twice, first in the mind and then in reality. Focus on the positive. Remain spiritually stable, so that nothing can move you off the track to success. Imagine what you want and firmly believe in it. Everything will happen for sure.
Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.
Such an approach does not seem difficult but very few act this way. John F. Kennedy was a sick child and teenager and he could easily get used to complain about life and give up the struggle. However, he managed to overcome physical infirmities and became the most attractive and charismatic political leader in the history of the United States.
There is a principle of 80/20 in the world that means that there are 20% of leaders and 80% of ordinary people. Agree that you can easily be in the top twenty.
Aiming to become a leader, start small. Listen to the lectures on public speaking by Dale Carnegie. Go to the library or search online for books about the art of conversation and personal improvement. Communicate with people. You’ll have fun and make circle of friends and partners around you.
Cultivate that elusive quality, which we call charisma. Leaders have the following qualities:
- be dedicated to what you are doing;
- look like a winner and act like a winner;
- have a tremendous desire, dreams and aim for the stars;
- persevere in your efforts to achieve goals;
- get ready to perform any task and work on its implementation;
- take an interest in others and show your kindness;
- develop a sense of humor.
Behavior that distinguishes a leader
Be known for the strength of your character. Integrity is the most valuable and respected quality of a leader. Always keep your word.
Be creative in difficult circumstances. John Kennedy told that «the elusive half-step between middle management and true leadership is grace under pressure.» Do not be afraid of bold decisions, they are in any case better than nothing.
Let everyone know you as a person who works more than others, as a person who takes a large number of tasks and perform them successfully.
Become a person who always takes care of others, especially of your family members. Be friendly with everyone. A strong person do not cherish ill-will and cope with problems without taking it out on others.
Do not be afraid to stand out among others improving your personal and professional qualities. Feel like a star that shines brightly and delights others.
Robin Sharma believes that it is necessary to do the two most difficult things for you on a daily basis. Let it be something small, just do this work! Over time, these obligations will no longer be overly burdensome. The strength of your character will become stronger and your productivity will increase. By the way, this technique will help to build character.
Three Pillars of Leadership
The three pillars of leadership are the ability to reflect, care and kind attitude to people.
In order to achieve real success, we have to understand that worldly wisdom and insight are the most important features that we need to cultivate. Become an expert on individual psychology and learn to identify the human essence. Do not allow yourself to be used and be fully aware of what is happening around you. Do not stoop to gossip and intra-office squabbles but you should understand that they do exist, and try to be aware of what is going on behind your back. True leaders behave this way.
A leader is a person who leads people. But leadership begins with the ability to control yourself, your thoughts and emotions. As you know, your whole life depends on this. Before commanding others and leading them you must command yourself. This is the first and most important step in leadership. Could Fyodor Ovchinnikov build a successful business another way?..
A leader is not a manipulator, a leader is a motivator whose actions are aimed at creating and maintaining the well-being of others. Of course, everyone thinks primarily of themselves… If anyone says otherwise, you should know that the person is cheating. Perhaps they do this unintentionally and unknowingly, sincerely believing that they care about other people.
A leader can consider other people, he is able to take care of himself and he gives a remaining energy and strength to others. It seems the situation with money: when you earn enough to live comfortably you are able to give your savings to benefit people. But when you do not have enough money for yourself you cannot think about others.
Free energy means creative energy, which people use for creativity. Most of us have power only to maintain the current level of life, many of us do not have enough power even for this and then they lower the bar. Only few have enough energy to create the next level after the strengthening of the previous one.
Free energy is like free money that you can use after all bills are paid. By the way, the amounts of energy and money are directly proportional to each other.
A leader is primarily a person who perfectly controls his own life. He has plenty of free energy and it is booming. Due to his strong and stable energy he is able to lead people.
Leaders are very self-confident. It serves as the core of their position in life and forms relations with the world and other people. Self-confidence enables them to accept themselves as they are. It creates a protective layer between them and people around, which allows moving more purposefully.
A person is able to effectively manage his/her life only in the quiescent state. When you suffer negative emotions poison your mind, and as a result, you take wrong, rash and hasty decisions. A person who is confident in his/her future is impossible to be shaken. This peace of mind allows thinking clearly and taking right steps. Remember the proverb: «The dogs bark and the caravan goes by.» The same is about leaders: people are trying to denigrate and offend them, but leaders feel a power and just smile back.
People, who achieve leadership by tricks and traps, usually lack self-confidence. They want to show that they are important in this world. That is why they strive to subdue and control people in order to raise self-confidence. They do this just for personal ego gratification. True leaders are chosen by other people. They do not strive to get leadership just for its own sake. People around a true leader feel a strong personality who is able to take care of them and unite around him/her.
Most people do not have enough free energy to do great things and when they see a person who has it in abundance they try to approach him/her and to get at least a piece of it. Leaders spare no energy because the more they give, the more they get and the stronger they become.
This is a spontaneous process. Leaders know who they really are and their self-confidence cannot be shaken. Remember that the first stage of leadership is self-management. If a person copes with this other people are not able to change anything.
Working with a team
Since the role of a leader is the effective management and coordination it is very important to be able to find a common language with people. Leaders have to be real team players. They have to lead a game and be in the center instead of hiding behind others and telling what to do. An important quality of a leader is modesty. He must take full responsibility for mistakes and solve problems when they arise. A leader should publicly praise others for success and make it the way that a good result is the merit of the team.
Do not be afraid to ask for help. This is the feature of courageous people with a strong character. Be willing to share what you can with others. This is the evidence of responsibility, sympathy and strength of the human spirit. Great things are never done alone.
The philosopher and psychologist Napoleon Hill wrote that if you let other people’s thoughts join yours then your mind would generate ideas, which you had never had before.
You should meet mistakes with courage and try to avoid them in future. True leaders are able to recognize mistakes and turn them into a blessed gift, making a lot of conclusions from the situation. In this case, failures play a positive role.
The way you deal with difficulties is a key factor in leadership.
The first and most important condition of dealing with mistakes is a positive reaction. Take them and remember that leaders are the same people, they have a right to make mistakes.
Environment of leadership formation
Development of leadership qualities requires an appropriate environment.
Find a mentor! Our educational system does not prepare us for the real world. Do not think that you will have all necessary knowledge after high school graduation. This is hardly possible. You must continue studying. The most successful people visit seminars and clubs, read books, join interest groups, search for mentors, even hire highly paid business coaches to get the greatest likelihood of success.
Look for a mentor who has already achieved what you want. Look for a mentor who you want to follow and who will accompany you on your life path.
Leadership is a matter of choice. Leaders are people who are able to take care not only of themselves. Effective leaders achieve their goals by helping people to realize their dreams. They operate on the principle: «You will get everything you wish in life if you help others to get what they want.» This is the philosophy of a leader.
Your environment determines the level of success. You can realize your greatest dream only with the other people’s help.
Universal leadership skills
The skills that are inherent to leaders such as the ability to make decisions and to plan, to coordinate, to work hard, and qualities such as responsibility, foresight and other, can be applied in your own life. You can be a leader without controlling others.
For example, you can become a leader and create an excellent business in the Internet, and you do not need anyone (if you are ready to figure everything out yourself). In this case, you need to manage only yourself. Leadership is necessary in a family — it is the ability to understand children and spouse. Even if you do routine work leadership is in its performance. It can be in dedication to some activity.
Stephan Leimberg recommended to learn, how to make a decision — to lead someone, to follow someone or step aside. Usually, the price of inaction is higher than the cost of making a mistake.
And this is absolutely true. Not to make a decision is also a decision. Procrastination and postponement are negative time management practices. It is necessary to analyze available data to assess all possible options for action. On the basis of the executed work you can come to a certain conclusion. However, some issues are more important than others. When you are going to do something you should mark them as the primary ones.
Develop the important skills that will help you to be more reasonable in decision-making. Reply promptly to all letters — either by phone or in writing. When you are offered to come or to convene a business meeting decide immediately whether to spend time on it. If not — refuse.
However, sometimes it happens that hasty decisions appear to be productive. As well as the first reaction (after a short consideration of options) is the best answer. So if you have limited time and the decision will not have great affects then make it at once not to get caught up in feelings such as: «How will this turn out in the future?»
Leaders do not use the word “problem”
Leadership is not a destination, leadership is a way, persistent work, first of all over itself. Leadership is a process of improvement of yourself and your qualities.
Leaders don’t use the word «problem», since it gives rise a negative image that attracts negative situations. It must be simply excluded from your dictionary. Use the word «situation» instead.
By means of words it is impossible to transfer precisely that image created by imagination. Leaders think as follows.
They use only positive epithets, as they know that mind perceives only images and thereforeo try to create the picture favorable for work. It is impossible to reach effectivess in a gloomy or disturbing condition.
Leaders realize an essence of a problem and try to present it in a simplified way. If you reduce the size of a tiger to the cat’s size, it will not be able to scary you. Usually people exaggerate the size of a trouble scale that makes things even more complicated.
Leaders do smile. Try to smile and think about something bad. You will not be able to do this. Either smile will be gone or your thoughts will move in a positive course.
Leaders can seem serious, but in soul they are not. Seriousness increases the importance and size of a problem. The smile, on the contrary, relieves the tension, reduces pathos, and the problem is easier to solve. Awareness of the issue’s importance blocks the thinking ability. The experience becomes stronger if the material is more difficult. In such conditions it not easy to adequately address the tasks and solve them correctly. Leaders understand it and therefore try to reduce the importance of a problem for their employees.
Leaders use volumetric images. They make big plans. Bright images can motivate much stronger than people.
Instead of asking a question, how long is the way to a goal, leaders focus attention on how much was already achieved. They know and try to show people that follow them how much was already done.
Leaders can see business in the long term perspective, how it will be in the future. Each businessman imagines his new business as it is already flourishing, he works for it and ready to overcome all difficulties. What he has now is only a transitional stage. Your real life occurs at your conscious, and reality is only reflection of its work.
Leaders look positively at all occurring events. They see situations in a favorable light, even if they are not. Every situation bears a grain of the following victory. Our life is a sequence of our choices. By reacting positively, you transform negative circumstances into the positive.
Here, for example, a history of the Sony company’s success. At first its future founder, designer Akio Morita, designed the rice cookers, but they were not successful. Rice continually burned in them and they were broken easily. It was a total failure! However, Morita did not give up.
Akio started developing a transistor, and then the first tape recorder. Business went on a new and extremely perspective way. In the 70s of the last century Akio Morita became the richest person of the world.
Answer honestly a question «Why do I want to become a leader?» Try to make it as clear as possible. The more precisely you understand why you need to become a leader, the quicker you will become.
By being the leader, I will:
For example, it is possible that:
- leadership will bring you a moral satisfaction;
- you considerably increase your income and ensure a good standard of living for your family;
- you feel that leadership is your true calling;
- you want to help other people or simply you wish to manage;
- it only a step on the way to next achievements.
Deep inside you feel that you must become the leader and to manage others. But remember: you need to reach a unity of your mind and heart, as wiithout it you will not achieve any serious results. The desire can be felt at the level of emotions, but the mind needs the facts. Explain to yourself, why do you wish to become a leader. Explain it logically, and your mind will support you for all 100%.
Write down the answers on paper. This way you will be able to formulate reasons more precisely, than in mind. Clearness and clarity are necessary. The reason perceives figures. Be most specific, as you are in shop to buy some food.
So, you have just defined why you want to become a leader. The reasons are written down. The next step is readiness to work and become a leader. It is an intention.
Keep watching over the most successful leaders. What ways of influence on people do they use? How do they achieve a unity of team? How do they inspire and motivate their employees? Describe the ideal leader. Ask yourself a question: what quality do you need to be more successful?
Select the two people in your environment with whom you have most serious difficultties in negotiations. Describe these people as detailes as possible: their individual traits, goals and priorities, what makes them approve/reject. Try to put yourself on their position. «Try on» them different ways of influence. In advance prepare for the meetings by thinking over various styles of influence, applicable to this opponent. Conduct at least five meetings with these people.
Try to apply spirit of great leaders. Learn from them, read their biographies and books. You receive the most powerful charge of energy. Examples will inspire you to move forward. The leader is a person who learned to turn dreams into reality.