Trying to become a better leader? Don’t be someone else. You need to be YOU. If you are trying to be like someone else, forget it. That job is taken. The world needs YOU, not the other guy.
I see too many young professionals trying to be like someone else. They identify a role model and take off copying that person’s style, trappings, mannerisms, and even vocabulary. It comes across phony. To be an effective leader, you must develop your own unique style and approach.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with trying to learn great things from people who have “been there, done that.” That is mentoring and coaching. Yes, let someone show you the ropes, but YOU need to decide how that new knowledge will fit into who and what you are.
If you follow my writings at all, you know I am the only child of a hard working single Mom. Mom couldn’t provide a lot in a material sense, but she brought me the moon in terms of key and important influences in my life. When I was still at home, she arranged a huge cadre of male role models from which I could learn. I didn’t turn out like any one particular mentor of mine. No, better yet, I became a patchwork quilt of qualities and attributes I gleaned from various others who were offering support and encouragement.
Am I perfect? Absolutely not, but I guarantee I have been able to do more than a lot of my peers because I had this amazing exposure to men who had a heart for mentoring and helping a young boy grow up. Many of my friends grew up in the shadow of their Dad. Sometimes that worked out well, other times not so much. They had to wait years to realize there were other choices for values and behaviors from which they could have chosen. I had the good fortune of know that before I left for college.
It’s never too late to grow. As a leader you should already have a habit of seeking growth and experiencing growth. If you have been slow to do that, there is no better time than now.
Develop your own leadership development plan. Use the information you gather from my checklist here and work out a plan for growth. Take small steps each and every day to build your personal archive of knowledge, experience and information on leadership. When you get stumped (and you will), seek counsel. Get advice from trusted coaches or mentors.
Stop trying to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Or whoever your X-person is. You fill in the blank with the name of that persona you have been trying to become. Yes, you can adopt some of their principles, skills, and attributes, but own it. Make them yours. You need to be you. All the other jobs are taken.
You will never be as successful as you could be by trying to copy someone else. All you will have done is flatter them and pump them up. Sadly, very famous authorities usually never know about your effort to copy them. Just stop it.[reminder]Let me know about ways you have tried to copy someone else. What were the results?[/reminder]
Hi, I am Doug Thorpe. Author, speaker, entrepreneur, and business coach.