In order to be a great leader, people must follow you. And in order to follow you, you have to know where you are going. While some people have that “je ne sais quoi”, or that “It” factor most of us simply don’t. But remember, as we established in lesson 1, we are ALL leaders. So, if you’re one of the many not blessed with that X-factor, can you still be a great leader?
The answer is obviously and emphatically, YES! But there are some critical qualities we must have in order to really thrive as leaders. In addition to humility, great leaders have Conviction, Courage and Confidence. I chose to group these three traits together as one because they are all interrelated and interdependent. When one has conviction or belief in something it fuels their courage and with great courage they begin to have confidence.
People want to follow those who are excited about what they do. A famous Reformation preacher purportedly once said, “If you light yourself on fire, people will come to watch you burn.” You must believe, and more than just believe, you must have deep-rooted convictions in what you are doing in order for those following you to fully buy-in. My buddy is a great coach and great motivator and I think he could probably make a group excited to do just about anything because of his sheer energy and conviction he has when he comes up with an idea…and how “good” the idea is really has no impact on the equation.
Conviction gives birth to courage. As a history teacher, there are tons of obvious examples of this. The most influential leaders in history had courage because they had conviction. Conviction and belief in something bigger than oneself gives birth to an unwavering, stare-scary-in-the-eye-and-don’t-blink kind of courage.
And finally, conviction and courage give way to confidence. People follow those who are confident. There is an old Jack Palance commercial that my sister and I used to mock, where an aged Palance declares, “Confidence is very sexy…don’t you think?” Well, I’m not sure about Jack’s appeal but confidence does attract people.
So, what’s the takeaway here? Believe deeply in what you are doing. Have deep-rooted convictions that don’t back down and that you are excited about, and courage and confidence will follow.