One of the questions I am often asked is, “Can everyone be a leader?”
My answer is always a resounding, “YES!”
That doesn’t mean everyone will be in a leadership position in an organization with a team of people to lead. What I mean is that everyone can learn more about leadership and learn how to lead themselves – and possibly others – well.
As we dive deeper into these conversations, I usually start to hear excuses as to why they believe they can’t be a leader.
Here are a few of the excuses I hear most often.
1. I am not in a leadership position.
You don’t have to be assigned a position to be a leader. Leadership begins with leading yourself well.
This is essentially a three-part process:
- You begin with knowing your values and aligning them with what you do daily. This first step is foundational to everything else you do.
- Then you develop a vision for yourself, and start the journey of leading yourself towards it.
- Along the journey, you invite people who share your values and have a similar vision.
2. I am an introvert.
So am I. Yes, you heard me. I have many tendencies of an introvert. Sure, I know how to function as an extrovert, but that is completely out of my comfort zone.
I find that if you are passionate enough about what you want to accomplish, you can muster the skills and talent to lead people to share in the pursuit of those goals.
The bigger the vision, the more uncomfortable we must become in order to bring it to realization. Vision is outside our comfort zone. Otherwise, it would be our current reality. Push to expand your comfort zone…yes, even if you are an introvert.
3. I am not good with people.
I once had someone in a leadership position tell me, “I used to like people, but people have ruined that for me.”
Dealing with people can be challenging. I get it. I’m sure many a person has said that about me.
Don’t let the challenge stop you from making a difference in peoples’ lives.
Most people will accept the role of a follower rather easily. Use that as an advantage – not for your own personal gain – but to lead them to become leaders themselves. Be a leader who turns followers into leaders.
4. I am not influential.
Influence is developed over time, so you can start anytime. I have never met a person who hasn’t influenced someone or been influenced by someone. Good or bad, everyone has some level of influence.
Who have you influenced? Who has influenced you?
Influence is really just getting people to do something they haven’t done or tried before. Used correctly, influence can help people grow.
5. I don’t know how to lead.
This excuse is one of the easiest to remedy. There are resources everywhere to help you. There are thousands of books on leadership. In fact, I have written one called Boss or Leader. I have a list of recommended leadership books that I have found to be impactful. Check them out here.
Read, learn, find a mentor, follow seasoned leaders, practice, and repeat.
Knowing how to lead is a matter of learning and habit. You can learn, and you can practice good leadership habits.
There are many ways to influence others, and the world needs people who can influence others in a good manner. There are opportunities all around us to lead others, and opportunities within us to lead ourselves.
If you have used one of the excuses from this list, consider that your starting point to become a better leader. Face the excuse and put it in its place.
You can do this.
And in fact, if you are going to reach your full potential in life and business, you must overcome these excuses in order to lead yourself and others well.
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. Are you interested in talking to Dave about coaching or having Dave speak to inspire and motivate your team? “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.