Want to Be a Leader? Do Things Others Won’t
I feel very lucky and privileged to be an extrovert.
Public speaking, hosting events and retreats, being on camera, nude modeling (long story), and other front-and-center activities are second nature to me. I crave the spotlight, and my energy reserves are replenished whenever I’m around large crowds.
Being a leader is a part of my DNA, but after coaching hundreds of ladies from all over the world, I’ve come to realize that leadership is something that many people shy away from.
In fact, I probably seem pretty annoying to more laidback folks. Eep.
Leaders can seem bossy, pretentious, self-righteous, loud, and overbearing. Like, get outta my face already!
But… (and you knew there’d be a “but”), leaders get stuff done. Leaders reach their goals. And more profoundly, leaders help change the world.
Leaders do what others won’t.
If you’re a go-with-the-flow introvert and you’re reading my “Type A” blog, I bet there’s a teeny voice inside you who says, “I want to be a leader! Me too!”
Thankfully, you can learn to stand out from the crowd even if you’ve been hiding under a rock for most of your life.
Here are some easy things you can do to prove you’re a leader.
Be a Leader in Your Business
Use your unique voice.
Admit it, you can tell when someone is mimicking another entrepreneur’s style online. Instead of being a poor copy of someone else, make it a point to write how you actually speak.
That’s how you get your potential clients to trust you. My trick is to say my blog posts aloud before I transcribe them. Those of you who’ve met me in person know that I really use words like “folks” and “anyhoo” in my normal conversation.
Raise your prices.
Leaders don’t look at their competitors’ prices and then pick a number in that ballpark. No way!
Make a list of everything you’d do for a client and choose a price that (1) honors your time and effort and (2) stretches you out of your comfort zone just enough. Remember, a real leader wants to be the most expensive [fill in the blank] out there.
Be a Leader at Work
Hiding in your cubicle like a scared little mouse is for rookies. Get out of your cube (or hallway or department) and walk around.
Say hi to the senior management team and the board of directors. Let those big wigs put a face with your name, and they’ll remember you come promotion time.
Take on more responsibility.
Back when I was in corporate and stuck in another endless meeting, everyone would look away or hide behind their papers whenever a manger asked for volunteers.
Be a leader and raise your hand! Show the team that they can count on you to lead the way (to bigger profits, perhaps?).
Be a Leader in Your Life
Take care of yourself.
Yes, it’s a cliché that you must put yourself first if you want to have the strength to help others, but that’s because it’s TRUE!
Real leaders get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, enjoy hobbies, and de-stress daily in order to do the heavy lifting that leadership requires.
Embrace your guilty pleasures.
Don’t mindlessly follow the latest trends when you’d really rather be doing something else. Teach your kids that it’s OK to be different and indulge in so-called guilty pleasures. Turn up the disco music and boogey down!
This post focuses on Step 3 of the Life Editing Process, Add Good Habits and Routines. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.
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I’ve come to realize I’m a shy extrovert. I really like being around people and feed off the energy of a (positive) crowd, but I can be a bit quieter, depending on the situation. I think when I worked out of the house I was able to go above and beyond, but in my own business it’s been a little more challenging trying to do it all while also taking care of my daughter almost full-time. I really like what Lori said about projecting her voice — that is something I know I need to work on, and talking slowly and clearly. (I find when I do Periscope I tend to ramble and talk really fast! This is definitely an area in which I’d like to become more of a leader.)
I’m definitely not an introvert! In my Master of Arts in Leadership classes we had to take some personality tests and I scored one point below aggressive! LOL! Not sure how accurate THAT is (wink!), but I’m definitely not shy! My capstone paper was on Women in Leadership in Higher Education and I found it is true how important women mentors in higher positions can be to those women aspiring to greater leadership positions. It was crucial for success in many cases!
I love this topic! I too am an introvert, but over those past few months I have decided that I can still be a leader in my work and home life. I tend to be a very quiet person, keeping my thoughts and opinions to myself, but I’ve been practicing speaking up. If someone asks for my opinion, I share it honestly. And when I speak, I have learned to increase the volume of my voice too. Projecting my voice is a powerful thing! Not in a loud, rude or obnoxious way, but in a way that says “I believe in what I’m saying and I’m not afraid for others to hear what I have to say.” This little shift has been a wonderful change for me in being and feeling more like a leader.
Oooh, this is a juicy topic! I lean more toward the introverted — I recharge by being alone — but I LOVE being on stage and in front of the camera! While I’ve taken my time getting comfortable with leadership in the workplace, I’ve had a good mentor in my day job and feel like I’m coming into my own. And in my “online/entrepreneur life” I’ve been a leader, too. I feel proud that I’ve participated and try to lend a helping hand in groups I’ve been in. I do enjoy the extroverted leaders – they are A LOT of fun and help me get out of my shell. Just don’t forget that the quiet ones are secretly taking over… 😉
Having a mentor is incredibly helpful, and I wish more women in management roles would reach out to support other women in their companies. And I agree that you’re definitely a leader online and in the groups you’re in, Erika. You’re always helping others! 🙂
As an introvert, I’ve noticed that many people assume those who are extroverted or charismatic are good leaders – and that’s often not the case. Not all extroverts are leaders, and not all introverts are not. I love Susan Cain’s book Quiet: ‘The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ (I actually wrote my capstone Master’s essay on the topic of introverts as leaders) and I love your suggestion to use your own voice, that’ so important for both introverts and extroverts! As a quiet child, I never thought of myself as a leader, but I did watch my father (who is an introvert…mom and sister are most definitely not!) excel professionally by using his unique strengths to become a great leader. I think introverts have an edge in leadership in some situations because they tend to be very self-aware and in tune with the people around them. Sometimes we just need a reminder that it’s ok to put ourselves out there, and that we don’t have to be the loudest one in the room to be the leader 🙂
I agree, not all extroverts are good leaders–but they sure get a lot of attention! I read Quiet too, and it made me aware of how differently introverts view and interact in the world than I do.