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The school of hard knocks

Denis Waitley once said that “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.” Since I started directing a leadership college (www.impactschool.us) I get a lot of questions asking me what it takes to be a great leader. I have to confess I’m still a work in progress, but through my life I’ve learned that my failures have been my biggest teacher. The key to becoming a great leader is seeing yourself as a sponge, soaking up all the wisdom their is to learn from everyone around you. Below are 9 steps I believe are essential in being a great leader.

1. Leadership is lonely. Your decisions will not always be popular; and the popular ones are not always the right ones.

2. I’d rather be respected than liked. When you die you don’t take your friends with you; you only take your character.

3. Always ask: What can I do better, self-analysis is crucial in becoming the leader you want to be. Psalms 139:23-24

4. Don’t dwell on the past. You can’t change it.

5. Stand for what you believe and don’t waiver on your decisions. By the time you have made the decision if you’re a good leader you will have prayed and sought advice. So stand firm when the critics try and rock your boat.

6. Stay calm; follow the rules of: think, pray, plan, respond. People can’t “make” you angry; you’re the captain of your ship.

7. You can’t please everyone and if you try you’ll give yourself an ulcer. For me, if God, my wife, and my kids are happy, then I’m happy. Everyone after that can take a number.

8. When you’re out front arrows will be shot at you. Don’t take it personally; hurt people end up hurting people. Brush it off and keep moving forward.

9. Never be afraid to say I’m sorry. Great leaders admit when they’re wrong–and then they put steps in place to correct their mistakes.

If you have mastered all of these you’re a better man than I, because I’m still a work in progress. We never arrive. The question to ask yourself is Will I be faithful to the process?