"There are no bad teams, only bad leaders." --Jocko Willink
There are very few real leaders:
- Who genuinely stand for something and brightly reflect those standards.
- Who are willing to put everything on the line for what they believe in.
- Who create change and lead.
Here's what abruptly happens when you take ownership of your life and situation:
1. Inject a winning standard of performance before you start winning.
"How would your life change if you made decisions TODAY as if you were already the person you want to become TOMORROW? We tend to live up to our own feelings of ourselves (for better or for worse). If we plan to become something else, what better way to do so than to step into that skin now?" -- Richie Norton
It doesn't matter what your current circumstances are. Winners act like winners before they start winning.
Your mindset is what you grow into. Mental creation always precedes physical creation. Who you are in your head is who you eventually become.
The first thing that happens when you step up as a leader is that you and everyone around you begin looking toward success. You start craving it, and believing it's possible. In turn, your behavior starts changing.
It all starts with you.
2. Constancy among chaos and success.
"Consistent effort is a consistent challenge." --Bill Walsh
Most people can't handle failure or success. They're on a behavioral roller coaster depending entirely on external circumstances. When things aren't going well, they're overwhelmed or depressed. When things are going well, they're overconfident and lazy.
However, when you show up as a leader, your mindset and behavior remain constant regardless of success or defeat.
You are marching forward to the beat of your own drum. Everything outside you is noise. You're compelled forward by intrinsic vision and values. Your consistency reflects your conversion to your cause.
3. A clear point of reference is established to keep you consistent.
When you decide to lead, you provide a clear standard of excellence. Your standard of excellence becomes your point of reference, keeping you honest and consistent in all circumstances.
It ensures you don't have too many bad days in a row. Or get derailed by haters. Or get overconfident when successful.
Your point of reference is what you really believe in. It's why you do it.
When you're struggling and failing, you look to your point of reference. When you're crushing it, you look to your point of reference.
What's your point of reference?
4. Clear performance metrics are established to keep you accountable.
"Where performance is measured, performance improves. Where performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates." -- Thomas S. Monson
What does success look like for you, behaviorally? What is your actual job? What do you need to do?
How do you determine if you're failing or succeeding?
There should be clear metrics to measure yourself against. However, simply knowing what you should be doing isn't enough. Clear accountability needs to be put in place.
That accountability, if possible, should be to an actual person, not just a spreadsheet. When you are required to report your progress -- especially to someone you respect -- your performance will improve.
5. As the leader, you reflect the standard of excellence and recognize you are the ultimate bottleneck.
You are the example of what optimal performance looks like. You become the living and breathing standard of excellence for others to emulate. You reflect your mission and values.
One thing is absolutely certain: Those following you will mimic your performance -- whether good or bad. Thus, you are the ultimate bottleneck. Your failure to get to the next level hinders everyone relying on you. You can't take people beyond where you currently are, personally and professionally.
Hence, Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect, has said, "Never take advice from someone you wouldn't trade places with."
Who you follow determines where you get in life. If your leader isn't moving forward, you're not moving forward, because your results are a reflection of your leader's results.
The better you become, the more clearly you can help others get where they need to go, because you've been there yourself. The essence of true leadership is pure ownership. You're no longer doing it for yourself, but so you can take those you lead further.