It doesn’t matter the industry or the field of play, the #1 rule vibrates throughout.
Choose a time and place, whoever or wherever, you will the see the #1 rule in action.
When we think about a leader, we think of a maker. Leaders are makers.
But every leader, first they made themselves. At the tactical level, the #1 rule is easily understood. It must be understood.
Leaders lead from the front. They set the example by the actions they take. The frontlines are clearcut. You are what you do.
The back lines start to blur when words can be substituted for actions. Or experience. Or conceived expertise. Or whatever a psychologist wants to call it.
It’s becoming more commonplace to see someone saying, but not doing.
→ You will see lazy personal trainers.
→ You will see broke financial advisers.
→ You will see fat dietitians.
→ You will see sick doctors.
The #1 rule is simple, but it is not common.
However, look to the uncommon and the #1 rule is omnipotent. It is transmuted through the actions of those at the highest. You cannot see it but you know it exists. It is the culture of the uncommon.
You see, the #1 rule of leadership is this:
LEAD FROM THE FRONT
Like Gandhi once said, “an ounce of practice is worth tons of preaching.”
Do as you say and set the example.
Be the strongest willed, the hardest worker, the most technical, the most creative, the most skilled, the expert and the visionary.
Vision is the art of seeing the invisible. – Jonathan Swift
The leader is upfront and he is in the trenches. He charges into battle, the first to swing his ax. Strategically, he is the most prepared.
When all seems lost, the masses look to the leader for a way out of the darkness and into the light. He is the bringer of victory.
The leader is not infallible, but he is impeccable. A pragmatic learner, the leader can never lose.
At his core, the leader is a disciplined action taker.
The greats of history are a shining light. And what do we see when we look at their example?
First and foremost, they are an embodiment of what they preach. A living example of their spoken word:
THEY SET THE STANDARD THROUGH PERSONAL EXAMPLE. THEY WORK HARDER THAN ANYONE ELSE. THEY BEAR THE MOST BURDEN. THEY SEE WHAT NO ONE ELSE CAN. THEY CARE ABOUT OTHERS AND NO MATTER THE ODDS,
THEY LEAD FROM THE FRONT.
The leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was a religious fanatic. He wasn’t special in any other way except that he was willing to sacrifice more than anyone else. He built his following on this simple premise.
Coco Channel dressed in the sporty and casual style she introduced to the world. She became the standard of femininity by showcasing what other women could be.
Genghis Khan was a relentless warrior before he ruled over the steppes of Asia. There is a story of how he climbed the face of a cliff to retrieve a falcon’s egg. The falcon was a symbol of his ability and courage and the falcon’s loyalty to him was a glimmer of his destiny.
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There is more to becoming a leader, denoted in today’s leadership movement:
Develop inner clarity. Understand your bright and dark sides, your personal strengths and weakness. Surround yourself with the right people. Spend time establishing systems. Know the key drivers of your industry and manage what’s important.
But it is all gibberish without rule #1. A slob with a title is nothing but a poser.
A true leader is well recognized. Rule #1 ensures that his presence is known.
Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened. – Billy Graham