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Becoming a Leader with Guts and Grit:
3 Essential Keys

By Mikkie Mills

Have you ever been in the presence of a truly great leader? Some people just seem to inspire endless confidence from their followers. Whether you think of a revolutionary, a coach, a titan of industry, or even your favorite high school teacher, there are qualities every great leader must have. In all leadership activities, certain qualities are essential to make a great leader able to inspire and direct. By their gusto, their sense of direction, and their attitude of inclusion, those who lead great movements or even a small group are able to beat their drum and have the people rise up and march. If you don't think you could ever someone like that, think again. There are just three major things to focus on if you want to learn how to call people to action courageously...

1. Passion, Confidence, and Enthusiasm

There is one thing that will make the difference between timidly hoping to get people to follow and bravely inspiring real loyalty in them. The secret ingredient is that intangible quality that moves a leader from apathy to total commitment. Passion is what creates a sense of purpose in any movement or group.

Think of leaders like Donald Trump and Barack Obama. They may not seem to have much in common, but what they do share is that total commitment to their direction and goals. That gusto and enthusiasm is infectious, and people like someone with a dynamic feeling of the importance of their mission. All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed.

2. Pointing the Way

Great trailblazers in any field have a clear sense of direction and are able to communicate that direction to the people they lead. You need to first know your vision and second communicate that vision to those around you. The best leaders have a clear sense of what needs to be accomplished and are not afraid to share that central idea with others. In fact, the biggest complaint against leaders is lack of clear direction. It seems that many people lack direction more than they lack willingness.

One constant in life is that there will inevitably be setbacks along the way. One of the things that can carry a movement or group successfully through the those setbacks is the leader that never stops pointing the way. Great leaders tend to see themselves as subordinate to the goal. The goal is the priority, and they are only servants to that goal. Make that leap of faith to pull yourself out of the spotlight. Be gutsy enough to take that light and point it on your destination instead of yourself, your followers will follow it safely to the goal.

3. Reaching Out to People

If you have the passion and the goal, the last key ingredient is a connection with the people you lead. That connection is vital. A study of more than 50,000 managers found that the one common trait all successful leaders share is interpersonal warmth. It takes courage to reach out to people and create sincere connections. Successful leaders open themselves up emotionally and show their warmth and caring bravely.

You may think that people will not like you or that they will not share your vision or believe in your cause. But, if you want to be a successful leader, you have to get beyond your own fears and insecurities and connect with people. If people think of you as a friend, they are more willing to share a mutual journey together.

Being a great leader can be achieved by mustering up your courage and learning the three ingredients to successful leading... Be brave enough to have enthusiasm and passion. Have the pluck to point the way in spite of any setbacks. And be audacious enough to connect with people. You will be a fearless and effective leader.

About Mikkie Mills: “I’m a Chicago native who loves to share her expertise about personal development and growth. When I’m not writing, I’m chasing the little ones around or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.” More articles by Mikkie.

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