Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Being a Leader

I constantly think about self-improvement. I make this a habit because I don't ever want to feel complacent and get stuck in the day-to-day rut that a lot of people unconciously end up in.

A while ago, I started thinking about leadership. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that becoming an inherent leader is 100% necessary in moving towards lifetime awesomeness.

Let's think about this for a second (difficult, I know), shall we? Whom do we look up to? We look up to parents, teachers, presidents, and people with certain social and monetary power. But what do all of these people have in common?

I know this is a surprise...LEADERSHIP! :)

People love great leaders. Notice the key word "great." The mark of a great leader is one whose followers love him/her. Now I use the terms "leader" and "follower" very loosely. They could be anything from an army general and his battalion, to a coach and his players, to a friend who takes his friends to a party.

Some people are natural born leaders. They feel compelled to lead no matter the situation. This however can be a detriment when A) they are not an expert in the field in which they are trying to lead, and B) there is another "born leader" in the mix which innevitably results in conflict.

I am certainly not a natural born leader, nor am I a natural born follower. In retrospect, I'm really happy that I wasn't a natural leader because it has allowed me to grow into, I believe a BETTER leader, ie. I know when to defer leadership when my knowledge of an area is insufficient and have no problem handing the reigns off to someone better, nor do I have issues dealing with authority when I know they have superior knowledge in the area.

The old Arun never made a concerted effort to assume leadership in anything. Sometimes, it just sort of happened on it's own if I happened to know someone or something better than everyone else. As a high school kid, I was always interested in getting good grades, so in group projects, I was generally somewhat proactive in having others get their work done. I was pretty good at tennis and was the team captain my senior year. I was also a tennis instructor which was certainly a leadership role.

The thing is, I didn't really make a concerted effort at becoming any of these, and they just sort of fell into place. I was oblivious and letting come what may.

I remember taking these personality-test questionaires in school, and there was always a question that asked, "In a group setting, what is your ideal role?" I always answered, "The thinker/idea maker." Being the creative mind had an appeal to me.

Now, without question, I would choose the leader. He is the creative mind of creative minds! He chooses the best direction and steers the ship, takes responsibility for anything bad that happens, and diverts any praise to his team members.

Now, I make a concerted effort to ALWAYS be a leader whenever possible. Obviously I wouldn't try and coach the bowling team since I suck at bowling, but I definitely put forth a "take the reigns and delegate" sort of attitude in group situations.

What difference has it made? My life is much happier and in MY control! The only way to move forward, is to commit to taking the bull by the horns and taking it where you want to go! That attitude has cascaded down to other areas and inspired me to be proactive in adding to my life.

You just can't wait for things to happen! You can't just sit in a car and hope it starts moving. You need to take the wheel and drive that sucker to Disneyland!

There IS a fine line between being a leader, and just plain being bossy. I definitely try not to say things like, "hey guys, I'm going to lead and take charge." That's terrible. What I DO do is demonstrate leadership by helping get organized and and be proactive in discussing responsibilities.

For example, I play lunchtime basketball at work. Among the players, I'm probably the LEAST tenured guy on the court, and certainly the youngest. But, once we have ten players on the court, instead of just shooting around until someone decides to make teams, I step up and assign fair teams to each person and get the game going! Now, whenever we go out, people always say, "Hey Arun, we need you to make teams man!"

It's so easy to never assume responsibility for anything, and just go with the flow. That's what most people do. However, most SUCCESSFUL people are, or become leaders. To be the best, one needs to think like the best.

Trying to be, and becoming an inherent leader symbolically has meant a lot. It's made me feel like I have total control of where my life is going, and given me the confidence to know that I can change it at any time.

If you PRACTICE being a leader, then the quality will slowly become inherent. I practice everyday!

It's time to step up, and take charge!


Basil said...

Great point Arun.
I guess I'm pretty similar to you. It's only recently that I have sought to really develop leadership skills, though I had also often taken charge of group work at school and captained several sporting teams (with a pretty good success record).
Nowadays I dont hesitate to take a leadership position, I often lead friends.
I think another skill that goes hand in hand with leadership is conflict resolution/negotiation. Being able to resolve arguments, make deals and bring people around to your way of thinking.

Jean-Pierre said...

Superb post! I think this is something I definitely going to have to start making myself try.

lotto said...

I agree with you about these. Well someday Ill create a blog to compete you! lolz.

Mike said...

I guess I agree with you, but I'm not so sure becoming an "inherent" leader is possible. One can try to lead, but I think it really has to be in his blood for it to work.

Then again, you seem to have had some success making the leap...maybe you're just a natural born leader and you don't know it lol! :)