What makes a leader?
In the most basic definition, the answer is “followers.” But what do leaders have that makes people want to follow? Is it innate charisma? A unique, inspiring vision? Mind control powers?
The truth is actually much simpler. Leaders earn their status because they have credibility. People follow a leader because they BELIEVE that person can meet their needs.
Now, where does credibility come from? Again, it’s not something you’re born with, or something that’s given to you by divine circumstances. No one is going to come and sprinkle fairy dust on you to give you the necessary skills to become a leader.
Great leaders recognize that building credibility starts with that one special skill that got them noticed. It’s what we call a “Confidence Base,” and it’s the core ingredient to becoming a successful leader.
If you’re in Sales, maybe it’s the systematic technique to questioning prospects that gets them to tell you what they REALLY need. If you’re in Marketing or Communications, maybe it’s the approach you developed for writing copy that pushes customers’ hot buttons. Whatever it is, the best leaders recognize that’s the foundation of their credibility as a leader.
What else is needed?
But if that’s all it takes, then why do so many people who get promoted to leadership roles fail?
Because the Confidence Base alone isn’t enough. What got you into a leadership role isn’t going to be enough to keep you there.
Great leaders take that base and expand upon it by trying to pass their knowledge on to their followers. Replicating that core skill, a process called “knowledge transfer,” is the key to being a successful leader.
Getting results through others
So if you want to be a successful leader, remember that you need to achieve results not just on your own, but also through others.
The less successful may lead a team. but they rely on their own competence to get things done. They don’t replicate their competence. They don’t empower others. And so their impact is limited.
Successful leaders channel the passion they had for building their own Confidence Base into passion for transferring their technical competence to others.
They develop, in effect, a new Confidence Base and a new source of credibility, in leadership. They achieve the multiplier effect, and their impact is enormous.
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