Many of us have seen someone trying to be a leader, just for them to fail to get their people to follow them. And it’s not always because they don’t know their stuff or they try to make us do the impossible. Sometimes it is just that which is lacking that destroys their mastery, skill and vision. What is it for sure? And more importantly, how can we succeed in obtaining it?
“You can’t lead a cavalry if you think you are riding a horse” – John Peers.
Many of us have seen someone trying to be a leader, just for them to fail to get their people to follow them. And it’s not always because they don’t know their stuff or they try to make us do the impossible. Sometimes it is just that which is lacking that destroys their mastery, skill and vision. What is it for sure? They just don’t feel like they’re the leader, they don’t feel like they have the right to be in that position. And these emotions flood out form them, destroying their otherwise good knowledge and skills.
We all know that one of the keys to great leadership is showing confidence in what you are doing and asking your troops to do so.
And it applies as much to our own daily lives on a daily basis as it does to leaders of large numbers.
And yet, my fear was undoubtedly unfounded – if I had the confidence to just go for it, to show others that I should do this, and though I may not be the best in the world at it, I should put it all in in it and have a damn good time doing it, then it would have been better than I had feared.
For years I wanted to get into acting, I always loved the idea, but I was always too scared to actually go for it because everyone (in my mind) would see me on stage not being brilliant to play the role, and they would laugh at me and yet some of the words are stupid and people would think I looked stupid …
Until one day, albeit aided by a small amount of Dutch courage, I agreed to try out for a piece in a production a friend did. It was Shakespeare, so no pressure!
The audition came, I stumbled upon the words that had never seen them before, and I thought it was the end of my acting days before they began.
But no, I got the role – two parts, actually. Yes, I had stumbled across the words, but so had everyone else because we hadn’t seen them before. When I look back, it’s obvious, but at that time I focused on my feelings of looking stupid for not being perfect.
Many exercises followed; Basically, I felt like I had to pull out because I looked silly, I didn’t get my perfect replies, the usual. Again, neither was anyone else, of course – that’s why there are exercises! I had to get over myself.
Then came the opening night.
I could either get nervous and worry about looking silly on stage.
Or I could realize that here the rest of the squad was counting on me to do my part – it’s not about me, it’s about all of us! And the other realization was that the audience had paid to come and see us – they wanted to see me and the gang on stage perform that piece, wearing these costumes, these words say.
So I went for it.
I was far from perfect, but I went through it, and you know what? It worked! We got a lot of applause and continued to make several performances of that production, and I have been invited to audition for further roles!
All because I came across my own misconceptions that I should look foolish, built up the confidence to go out and do what I was asked to do, did things to the best of my ability and had fun.
What if I thought I would look stupid and feel stupid in the outfit? I would have stumbled through and failed everyone and lost the audience. And why? Because I thought I looked silly, and so did I.
The more I think about that experience, the more I realize how important it is to fully believe in ourselves in everything we do.
You may be leading a team at work, you can lead a global company, you can lead your family, or you can even just lead yourself through some private activity. It does not matter. If you think you’re going to look stupid then guess what?