A leader is someone whom people choose to follow, and although leadership is an ability all of us are born with, many of us have to cultivate the ability in order to make it effective. Not everyone in charge is a leader, that’s just the reality of life. Sometimes entrepreneurs are amazing leaders; sometimes they aren’t. The inherent tension of leadership is the challenge of just doing things your way or soliciting and incorporating the suggestions of your top lieutenants. The price of leadership is high. You have to make the big decisions, take the big risks, put your neck on the chopping block, and guide people who may be difficult or uncooperative. Leaders also struggle with the inherent tension between their innate desire to lead and their fantasy of letting the reins go now and then. Heck, let’s admit it—some days it’s nice to just follow. However, the follower pays an equally high price, though it can be hard to see. Followers don’t have the benefit of seeing the big picture, they don’t see the business with the 360-degree view that leaders strive for. And that’s the most fascinating view in business.
Wherever you fit in your organization, think like a chief executive officer, because let’s face it: you are the leader of your life. Who are you going to lead in your own life? YOU. When you’re discouraged, you will “lead” that feeling in a more positive direction. When you’re feeling insecure, you will “lead” that emotion by listing all the things you’re secure about. Yes, leaders need followers. And that includes your ability to rise above and guide your negative emotions and thoughts into a more positive place. This is the only way to truly take 100 percent responsibility for your life.
Plenty of leadership opportunities come up every day of our lives, many at our jobs. For instance, imagine that you’re in charge of convincing your boss you deserve that promotion, or to manage a project or team, how about finding the right job or dealing professionally with difficult situations with colleagues. Most of all, you have to be 100% a leader and in charge of finding out who you are and rocking your career and life. Rocking your career and life requires gaining emotional equity with others. This is how I see it:
Energy = Equity
Equity = Access
Access = Influence
Putting energy into your relationships with people helps to build emotional equity (a personal bond), which results in people caring about one another and wanting to contribute to one another’s welfare. This degree of equity then increases access to a person’s time, information and contacts. Increased access enables one to boost their level of influence on situations and outcomes. Influence enables you to get things done. Every person that gets things done successfully understands the connection between energy, equity, access and influence.
I can’t tell you how often people tell me that they avoid the colleagues that they’ve labeled as difficult. Then they complain that they can’t get these people to help them get things done. Of course not! They have no emotional equity with them. Instead of avoiding difficult people or scenarios, try taking a bold leadership role instead. Presenting clear objectives, expectations and roles is a sure way to create the outcomes that you will need down the road.
Christine Comaford, Business Accelerator
CEO of Mighty Ventures, Inc.
NY Times Best Selling Author