Followers, Good Leaders

Being Everybody

Good leaders are good at understanding what their followers want.

That comes from being close to others and having a deep knowledge of their needs, dreams, and problems.

How do they do that?

There are different ways good leaders can do that: thinking about their followers a lot, listening to them, observing them, being with them heart and soul.

One of the greatest ways to understand followers is to imagine how it is to be them. All the knowledge and insight gained from the previous methods would not be informing and indicating the same way they would if the leader played the role of a follower. Nevertheless they could provide great input for this deep process.

How would a follower feel and think? What are the available scenarios for his behavior in a specific situation? What effects do the surrounding circumstances and his environment and background have on him or her? What does a follower want?

Not all followers are the same. Sometimes it is needed to categorize them by the leader based on specific criteria.

The advantage of this is that not all the time the followers are clear to the leader. Here a leaders goes back to himself. He imagines himself in the shoes of a follower.

“What would I do if I were him?”

“What would I feel if I were her?”

“What would be my options here?”

“Why would I do that?”

“How would I deal with this reality?”

If a leader was a good follower, he or she will have the great advantage of being more able to anticipate all that because he or she has been there once.

A leader also knows that humans have so much more in common than they think. What he or she would do is likely to be the same as what a follower would do.

This way a leader can be anybody and everybody, viewing the world with different eyes, and feeling it with different hearts.


A Leader’s Success

What is success? For normal people, it is lots of money, high academic achievements, prestige, a beautiful wife or handsome husband, a great job…

Success for them can be seen from the type of car you drive, or the clothes you wear, or the parties you attend, the people you go out with, the country you live in, the house you own, and many other visible and invisible indicators.

If you think about all these things, you’ll find out without thinking too much that in many cases these things can be owned by a person without him or her working hard to get them.

A small child could be filthy rich the moment he comes to world through inheritance…

A students gets a great sponsorship in a prestigious university because his relative is an important person…

Somebody gets born to a royal family and is prestigious by default…

He or she meets by accident a beautiful wife or hansom husband and they fall in love…

There is a vacancy in a fortune 500 company and you get a tip from a friend to apply quickly and since they need urgently somebody you get the job…

Can’t a looser drive a great car?

Or borrow some nice clothes for some event?

Through his friend attend a VIP party?

Or gets introduced to someone important and goes out with him or her?

A girls gets born in downtown London in a prestigious neighborhood…

A man wins a magnificent house through lottery…

All these things, do they in reality indicate success? Can these things be indicators of success if they could happen by accident? What kind of success is it if you get something through luck? Without working hard for it? Often without even deserving it?

How can these things be success if some people have it by default, as if they have a head start in life. Wouldn’t it be unfair to other people?

We didn’t mention that many get these things through illegal ways, like stealing somebody’s fortune, wife, car, or cheating in exams and so on. Where is the success in all that?

People have similar questions like the ones above. However they don’t really think deeply about the solution . They love all the things mentioned above and the moment they have them they start thinking of themselves as successful people.

Maybe there is an explanation for this. The feelings they get is not only because all those things above are lovable. They like these things because they are not easy to get. This makes these things demanded and not available to everybody. Therefore getting them, through hard work or through luck, is something good and beneficial.

Lets assume now that somebody has all these things mentioned above. All of them. Is this a indication that he or she is successful, and a guarantee that he or she is and will be happy as long the those things are available?

What is a lot of money worth if you have cancer and you can’t do anything about it, not even if you spend 100 times the money you have?

What is a beautiful wife worth if she cheats on you the moment you leave the house? Or a handsome husband who has an affair although you gave him everything you had?

What is a great academic degree worth if you live in a country where you can’t practice what you have studied?

What is it worth if you  live in a prestigious place in lets say London and you are lonely? Nobody to love, nobody to talk to, or with people around that don’t understand you?

Shouldn’t anybody wish these things to happen to him or her? Should we stop working to get these things???

No! Of course not! These things are nice and good.

However lets take a look at the last phrase: working

All these things can be achieved through hard work, continuous effort, and constant movement

Or through luck

A leader however thinks about success in this way:

She does work hard towards achieving her goals, regardless of what they are. Yet she knows that sometimes her goals can’t be achieved because of circumstances that are out of her hand. She also knows that other people might get the same thing with luck or with small effort.

However one thing  great leaders do believe in:

It is not all the time the goal you reach that indicates your success. However it is all the time the amount of effort you do that indicates how much you have worked to to reach your goal. And this is the real indicator of success.

If we compare a person who gets a scholarship because he has acquaintances, and another person who comes from a poor family and studies hard and earns a scholarship after passing many tests, you can see that the goal is the same. However the effort she gave to earn the scholarship is larger than the efforts of the person who gets the scholarship through connections. Who is more successful here?

A girl works hard to support a family and has to give up or delay her dream to study abroad, and even if she gets to study abroad, she has to pay for her own tuition, support herself and her family; in comparison a guy who is not responsible for anybody and can leave the country at any time he wants and somebody else pays for his studies. Who is more successful here?

Leaders are happy people, because they enjoy two types of success: the success of reaching the actual goal, and another type success that begins the moment they start working towards achieving their goals. For leaders, working towards a goal is  success too, because they know that the measure for success is the amount of work they do, and not always the goal they reach.

They believe in this too: sometimes the goal itself is worthless. What has more value is the fact that you tried to reach that goal and worked hard towards achieving it. What is more worth are the new things you learned on your journey to achieve your goals, the new experiences you gained.

Working towards something makes you stronger. And it makes you capable of achieving many other thing in the future. Therefore if a leader fails, she will not be sad. She regards her work already a success. She only didn’t reach the goal she had in her mind. But through what she has learned in her experience she might be able to achieve much greater goals in the future. This might be regarded as training towards achieving higher levels of success.

It is not that important where she is now, what she has achieved so far, and how the near future will be. What is more important is that she always does her best to achieve her goals, and that she knows that working towards a goal is a kind of success she gets to feel every single moment she works on something. She has trust in God and what he wants for her. From her side she gives her best. The outcome is up to him.

The success of a leader is ongoing. Forever. And it is true success.

Everyday Leaders, Good Leaders

Good Ones Stronger

Bad people have different goals, different ambitions, different agendas. However when their common interests are endangered, they all become one hand. They unite and collaborate, they become friends, and they work harder together.

We don’t see however the good ones like that. They do good things, but when their common interests are in danger, each one of them chooses to fight alone. Worse, sometimes they accuse each other of being bad. And the accusation becomes a fight, a fight amongst the good ones.

If not fighting, the good ones often neglect and don’t care about what the others are going through. Each one is busy with his or her plans to make the world a better place without noticing that the other good ones are suffering so badly and that sometimes a single world could save them.

Each one of the good ones thinks that his approach is the right one towards the ultimate goal.

Dear good ones:

The bad ones are collaborating with each other. Don’t you think that they have become stronger by doing so? Don’t you think that it is easier for them to crush you because each one of you is working on his own?

And don’t you think that sometimes doing good is not by changing the situation, or creating new things, but by being supportive to the good ones? The good ones who need desperately your help to achieve great things? And you could help them in a way that doesn’t cost you a lot of time and effort? Sometimes just a word, a little information, or just a smile?

Wouldn’t it be more efficient if you would collaborate with each other to achieve the next common good goal? To unite in order not to be so easily destroyable?

Whatever good goal a good leader wants to achieve, he or she has to do one thing: each good leader should “make the good ones stronger”, in any method, time, and frequency. Anyone, as long as he or she is good.

For each good person who fails there are good leaders who could have helped him or her but didn’t. They bear part of the responsibility. Sometimes full responsibility. For each good person that gets crushed by the bad ones the good leaders who could have made him or her stronger are guilty of charge. Directly or indirectly.

Any good leader who does not make the good ones stronger is not a truly good leader.

Anybody who makes good ones strong is a good leader, and understands what leadership is about.

Everyday Leaders

The Jewelry Box

One of the things that makes you a leader is abstaining from carrying hate against others.

Hate hurts, and it consumes energy, emotions, and thoughts. When you hate somebody, the first victim is you.

Leaders have big hearts, but the space is not reserved for hate. It is for love.

Regard you heart as a jewelry box. In a jewelry box you wouldn’t put trash. You would only put precious things. Love for others is something precious.

Not hating somebody does not mean that you are willing to resume  the relationship with him or her or create a new one. And not hating somebody doesn’t mean that you don’t hate his or her actions. That same person might change his or her actions one day, but remains a human that could be loved again.

Hating a person would also exclude him or her as a follower. A person would never follow and be loyal to you if you don’t love him.

Therefore good leaders don’t hate people.

Everyday Leaders

Real Heroes

Heroes, as we look at them, are rare. If we think about what makes a hero, it would be probably something like the following: it is somebody who does an extraordinary thing for the sake and well-being of others. He or she might sacrifice his or her own interest, well-being, or even life.

Yes, heroes can be defined by the type of extraordinary thing they do for others, and also by the amount of sacrifice. However the amount of sacrifice or the type of it is not everything. There is also the frequency of sacrifice.

With that new criteria the concept of heroism broadens and more people fall into this category.

How often is a hero willing to do what is best for others on his or her cost?

A young woman who is taking care of her family on the expense of her own life, dreams, and leisure is a hero. She might not jump in front of the car to safe a member of her family everyday. However what is the outcome of this heroic act? Isn’t is saving the life of that family member? Why then isn’t taking care of a family not a heroic act? The later is not only saving life, but creating it, bit by bit, on the expense of her own life.

What makes her a hero is that she has chosen to sacrifice everyday for her family, willingly, and without remorse. Out of love. I think this type of heroism is more effective in life than occasional heroism, regardless of what extraordinary thing those do to save others. And this type of heroes are great leaders, because their effect on others is much larger. And mostly unnoticed, not to mention celebrated.

Everyday Leaders

Everyday Leaders

Leaders in our views are well known people. We think that since they lead people, many people have to know them. One thing is right: if they lead people, they are known by their followers. However the greatness of leadership can not be defined by the number of followers, but by the effect a leader leaves behind on his or her followers.

We see that parents affect their children deeply. Brothers, sister, and friends too. The number of people affected by those is small, however the effect can be very deep.

Look at those people and you will see where they are leading you. The stronger the relationship, the stronger the leadership. Now think where those are leading you.


The Leader In You

In everybody there is a leader, yet not all notice that leader.

Everyday you are doing leadership. Every moment. Don’t you live? And manage your life? You’re in reality leading yourself. Towards something, or towards nothing.  However not all of us are great leaders. That is for sure.

We only notice leadership when it has to do with others. However  the best leaders are those who lead themselves best. And the better they get in leading themselves, the better they become in leading others.

This might be because all people are kinda the same. The better you know yourself, the better you know others. And the better you know how to make yourself achieve things, the better you can help others.

Of course there are differences between you and the others. What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for others. Yet human beings have a lot in common. Strangely enough we think that each of us is so unique but reality says that in live we deal with what is common amongst people more than with what is unique in them.

So you want to lead others? Start with your first follower, yourself.

Believe me that follower is the hardest one to lead. And you become the bravest and strongest leader once you succeed in leading yourself towards what you want.

Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “The bravest is the one who defeats his own vagary”.