Imagine an apprentice many years ago or a modern day medical intern…For countless hours these people watch, attentive to the one teaching them, paying close attention to the do’s and don’ts of the job and the troubles that come along with it…
What is the purpose of it all?
For some, it’s to fine-tune their skills and find out how they are truly going to function in their brand new line of work. Others, however, are searching for their specialty; waiting for a sense of inspiration to carry them into a more specific area of that job. But for each of them, it’s to learn. The many hours dedicated to learning helps the intern or apprentice focus on their skills, practice, and learn from the best, in the hopes to one day be successful.
The best leaders were once followers.
Imagine your favorite athlete. When they were born, were they automatically able to run quickly, jump extremely high, throw super far, score that many goals, or swing the bat that well? Of course not. Their skills were obtained with long hours of work in the gym, on the field, and on their own. They studied and aspired to be like their own role models. They weren’t born amazing, but worked hard to become a leader in their industry…but they were once just sitting on the sidelines, watching and learning.
Each and every one of us are followers being led by a leader. We attentively watch their actions and ways of approaching countless situations. Without even knowing it our loyalty to the direction from the leader, prepares us to step up without even truly recognizing it.
As a follower you will notice a leader is…
1. Clear on their intentions and easy to understand, relatable, and takes the time to make sure everyone can fully comprehend the situation.
2. Leading to serve others selflessly without expecting anything in return.
3. Trustworthy, humble, and full of perseverance to finish what they started.
4. Courageous and is not afraid to make mistakes when stepping up to a challenge.
5. Quick to listen to the opinions, thoughts, and ideas from others and not fully relying on his or her own thoughts and feelings.
6. Mentally strong through a rough situation, encouraging others to stay positive and concentrated.
After lots of time watching and learning what it takes, it only takes one situation for a follower to step into a leadership role.
Leonard Sweet once said, “Leaders are summoned. They are called into existence by circumstances, and those who rise to the occasion are leaders.”
So, how do you become a leader?
1. Find your calling in what you love…
*What are your talents? (athletics, music, talking, listening)
*What do others say you are good at? (encouraging, lifting others up, having the right words, speaking)
*What do you find yourself often doing? (Are you often found knowing how to speak to your team or class? Or wanting to correct someone?)
2. Have a Leader Attitude: We are all followers waiting for a chance to use our skills in a leadership position. In some areas of our lives we may be a leader, and in others we may be the follower…but in every situation a leader has the same attitude.
3. Take Action: Now take a moment and think about where you can find your passion for leadership in what you love… Use your passion and your knowledge to take a leap of faith into a whole new field. Use those skills that as a follower you observed. Be selfless, serve humbly, use your words wisely, have purpose behind your work, be mentally strong, be kind to all, be quick to listen, and trust yourself that you have the strength to get the job done. It may be intimidating but a leader is by no means perfect, in fact a leader is well aware that he or she makes mistakes; but they must overcome that fear.
If we’re honest, each and every one of us are sitting on the sidelines ready to make our debut just like your favorite athlete before they became as talented as they are today. Without even knowing it, you feel your calling…step up to the challenge, get off the sidelines, and use the skills you have to take a leadership stance. Your surroundings and your everyday activities are your circumstances, and in every circumstance one can be gifted the opportunity to step out of a follower’s position and lead those around them. You are more than capable. You are gifted. You are a leader.
WRITTEN BY Drezdan Ginder