Are leaders born or bred? An age old question. In my opinion, the answer is: Both. As someone who has dedicated the bulk of her life to studying, learning and training communication, success and achievement principals, I have had the opportunity to see and work with thousands and thousands of people. Certain individuals come into this world born to lead … the “natural born leaders” we so often hear about. But others start out more timid and fearful and, with the right guidance and training, can virtually blossom in front of your eyes into some of the most powerful leaders one can imagine.
But what about those “late bloomers?” What about those who don’t see in themselves what some of us see so clearly? This is the overwhelming majority of people who start out with a lack of self confidence, self-esteem or a lack of decisiveness that the “natural born” leaders seem to have been blessed with from the get-go. How do they develop those leadership skills that maybe haven’t been brought to the surface for the world to see? And how do those born leaders continue to challenge themselves and sharpen those skills to become even MORE? Even better, kinder, and more empowering to those around them?
Leadership is a skill but it’s also a quality and a characteristic. What we do with it is ultimately up to us. It is something that needs nurturing and cultivation in order for it to flourish into the visible and tangible leadership characteristics we easily recognize. The great news? We all have the same potential. We all have the ability to CHOOSE to lead others and most importantly, ourselves.
“But HOW?” you might ask…
There are classes and trainings (I happen to know of the most incredible, life-changing leadership development training programs available but I digress), coaches and mentors, books and videos—all incredibly valuable tools should you decide that now is the time to make a change and upgrade your skills once and for all.
At U & Improved, we lead our students through a series of challenges and processes allowing them to PRACTICE leadership behaviors. We don’t TALK about focus and taking action, we PRACTICE it. We don’t talk about self-awareness and speaking with confidence, we PRACTICE it. We don’t talk about living with passion and enthusiasm, we … you got it … PRACTICE it!
Because the human mind only retains about 10 to 25 percent of what it sees and hears. However, it can retain up to 95 percent of what it EXPERIENCES. So in order to develop skills that you can implement immediately and that you can retain for long-term sustainability, experiential immersion-style training is far and above the best way to go if your ultimate goal is to truly gain skills and tools for a lifetime.
The best part of developing yourself as a leader is that it positively affects and impacts every area of your life … your relationships at work and at home, the way you communicate with others, the way you carry yourself and the way you speak, and the way you simply “show up” in this world.
If you haven’t given yourself or your team at work or home the opportunity to shine, and to bring out the best in each of them, why not? The best investment of time and money you can EVER make is in yourself and those around you. And the best part? It stays with you forever. You can’t un-ring this bell. It’s not about hype and rah-rah. It’s about developing yourself to be the kind of leader you deserve to be, for yourself and those you surround yourself with. So go out there and take the time to develop yourself and your teams. Read that book. Go to that seminar. Take that class. Just say “Yes!” to you.
Encourage new ideas and personal development. Foster self awareness and accountability. The time is now, and quite frankly, you deserve to live your best life … today!