10 principles of power and leadership
The desire to help others
Strong leaders understand the importance of helping others. When you're leading a team of people, it's your duty to make sure the group, as a whole, is moving forward. This often means you have to take time to help individual team members develop and grow. For your team to do well as a single entity, you have to make sure each link is strong.
It takes many traits to be a successful leader, and the desire to help others is certainly one of the most important.
A thirst for knowledge
An individual with limited knowledge will find it difficult to succeed as a leader. It may be cliché, but it's true: knowledge is power. Strong leaders understand that the more you know, the more prepared you are to make difficult decisions and accomplish the daunting tasks that come with leadership. What's more, wise leaders understand that they don't have all the answers. Per Socrates: "the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."
Leadership requires a methodical mind. Patience is crucial in making meticulous and careful decisions. In a world that entertains instant gratification, it's become increasingly difficult to hold on to the forgotten virtue of patience. But there's power in patience. Patience gives you perspective and allows you to see the full picture. It's logical and practical. Of course, sometimes decisions need to be made quickly. But whenever possible, a good leader should embrace patience and avoid hastiness.
A strong sense of self-discipline
True leaders can always be identified by their intense dedication and discipline. After all, being disciplined typically means having a high level of self-control. And, of course, leaders should be able to control themselves in order to lead others.
Powerful people are also highly disciplined, as it often takes a great deal of power to master the self. Powerful leaders have a clear objective in mind, and they persist to reach their goals.
An urge to take initiative
Leaders also aren't afraid to take on tasks that others find overwhelming. When change is in order, a genuine leader will step up to the challenge and figure out what should be done in the right direction.
It's easy for most of us to accept processes and procedures that don't work well. So it's a display of leadership and power when someone initiates change. Successful leaders almost always have an urge to take initiative.
A goal-oriented mindset
Leaders are motivated by goals. They may have different ways of organizing and accomplishing those goals, but leaders tend to work toward a light at the end of the tunnel. When organizing a team, a leader has to consider direction--where is the team going? What tasks need to be accomplished? How can we progress?
While a goal-oriented mindset isn't for everyone, it's vital for leaders. After all, they're responsible for to navigating the team in the right direction.
An audacity for difficult tasks
It takes power to accomplish difficult tasks, and leaders are usually drawn to the challenge of the seemingly impossible. An individual with strong leadership skills will have the courage to take on taxing demands. When a team is faced with difficulty, it looks to its leader for solutions. And strong leaders are able to show the team that a solution is possible, and that hard work can pay off. When others are ready to toss in the towel, leaders are determined to chip away at the problem.
The ability to self-improve
Along the same line as a thirst for knowledge, an effective leader should have the ability to improve themselves. Powerful people know it's important to embrace adaptability and innovation in order to keep up with the changing world. Leaders maintain an open-mind about change, so they can keep moving forward.
It's less about compromising yourself and more about accepting the fact that no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, and there's always room for improvement.
The ability to take responsibility for actions
Again, a true leader can accept the fact that he or she isn't perfect. Thus, when a mistake is made, a powerful leader is willing to take responsibility for his or her actions.
Our failures, mistakes and consequences contain valuable lessons. But in order to find those lessons, it's necessary to own our actions. Accountability is an key trait for a strong leader. After all, being in charge of an entire group requires a great deal of responsibility.
Strong decision-making skills
Indecisiveness is not a desirable trait in a leader. Effective leaders know it's important to make decisions that are both sound and timely. This doesn't always mean the decision will be right--but a powerful leader will use his or her resources to make the best decision possible for that moment. This is where all of a leader's other principles come into play. The more attuned a leader is to those principles, the better he or she can make decisions.