Whether a position of leadership is a formal one such as that of a manager, teacher, political minister, or religious cleric or an informal one such as that of a parent, there are expectations from the people being led to be led properly.
I became one of the youngest office managers of the British Council when I was 27 years old. I had learned a great deal about leadership from my immediate manager, but I soon came to the realisation that in order to become an inspirational leader I had so much more to learn.
Through my learning and by demonstrating the essential qualities of a leader, I came to know that a key aspect of leadership is winning the trust and confidence of those we lead. I also learned that communication is the bedrock of building trust. The greatest words I have come to know when communicating are the word “US” and its pal “WE”.
People who are being led want to follow a leader who they can believe in; one who will inspire them to reach their shared vision. When the leader uses the word “us”, then the others know s/he will be on the journey with them to achieve that vision. They believe s/he too will be willing to do the “dirty” work expected of them. The followers see him or her not as a supervisor, but as a partner.
The ones you lead will build trust in you as their leader when they know that by doing what they do alongside you instead of under you that you understand what they go through and will not ask them to do anything that you won’t do. Leaders who use the words “us” and “we” are more likely to lead by example, for their motto is usually “Us or none”. Yes, good leaders start with doing before they ask others to follow. Followers believe that such a leader will not sacrifice their skins to save his/her own.
It’s no wonder that Mr. Obama won the election with the “Yes WE can” slogan. Now that you know the most powerful word of those three words, I believe you too can become an inspirational leader.
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