Be a Leader, Not a Manipulator
It's amazing what we sometimes do to manipulate other people. Often we're not even aware of what we're doing. What we want is help from other people, and what we end up doing is alienating them.
If you want someone's help, you must let him know you respect and admire his
. You want him to become your partner, not your adversary. You can say, "I've seen your work and I think it's
. I'm sure I can learn a lot from you. This is what I need to have done. Is there anything I can do to help you do your job?"
You can take this attitude no matter who you're speaking to—your
, spouse, or children. When something is very important to you, when you're excited about something and want to make sure it comes out well, it's only natural to want to retain control of the situation. But there are times when in order to lead well, you have to let go of the reins. When that happens, those around you feel that you care about them. They will want to
to you that you were right to place your faith in them, and they, too, will want the best possible results.
Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.
civil rights leader
Listening to Yourself
"Some people have a false
of leadership," says Charlene Costanzo, author of
The Twelve Gifts of Birth
. "They think of it as someone who gets up in front of others and
them what to do. But the people who have always inspired me most are those who seem to listen to their own inner guides, and who are being true to
. Those people lead by example. And they're more effective than those who are consciously trying to lead others.
"Being a leader is important, but you can never forget you are one with those whom you lead. My favorite example comes from nature. When geese fly in formation, there is always one goose who is at the head of the V. That lead bird is the one who faces the most resistance, and therefore tires
. But I recently learned that the geese take turns being in the lead position. When one bird tires, another bird moves into the head of the V. And all the birds behind continue to honk and honk, as if they were urging the leader on, saying, 'Go! Go! Go!'
"I believe we all have opportunities—and a responsibility—to take the leadership position once in a while. Sometimes we look at people in the news, people we perceive to be
, and we think, 'I couldn't do that.' Maybe you can't do exactly what that person has done. But we can all listen to our own inner guidance and find the unique
we have to make a difference in life. Often when we have big dreams, we say, 'Who am I to think I can do this? Why me?' The question really is, 'Why not me?'"
Those Who Use the Gift Lead the Way
The most complicated material object has been given to each and every one of us. That is our brain. It seems almost sacrilegious not to take advantage of its wondrous
. It doesn't take genius to tap into its powers. We all do it every day.
You may not think you have the capability to be a leader. But there's no use comparing yourself with others around you and thinking they are better than you because they can do some things you cannot. Particular people may have skills and abilities you do not; we each have our individual gifts. It's up to you to find and appreciate the gifts that have been bestowed upon you. Your gifts are unlike any others' and you are the only one who can uncover them, develop them, and use them to lead yourself and others to a better way of life.
If you don't have a plan for yourself, you'll be part of someone else's.
There is one more trait that makes a great leader: a love of learning. Great
always want to grow and move forward, and you can't do that by relying only on what you once knew. You must constantly
your view of the world with new sources of learning so that you may teach others. There's an old saying that goes, "Those who dare to teach must never
to learn." Those who dare to lead must do the same. The
learning into focus.