What Makes a Leader?

No matter where you are in your career, the position you hold in your business or the company you work for, leadership applies to all of us. 

To be successful, it comes down to how well you can rally people — be it friends, coworkers or partners — around a mission. If you think about it, any great mission is successful because of the people who make it happen; it is impossible to take on a mission by yourself. 

The mistake is, many people think leadership skills are only for people who are in positions of power such as politicians and CEOs. They’re not. These skills apply to everyone, no matter where you are in your life. We are all leaders; you don’t have to be running your own company, creating a startup or head up a division in a company. You can be an employee or part of a team and be a leader. 

Your ability to use your mind to not just help yourself but to impact people around you, your community and the world, in a favorable way, creates momentum that can achieve any mission. People who spark positivity, happiness, vision and growth in others can mold a better community and, as a result, a better world. 

Great leaders in history engaged teams with a shared vision; and that vision brought groups of people together to create change in the world. Those leaders tapped into people in a way that inspired them with a mission and a vision. They did this by searching for the issues that really mattered to people and the issues that drove them to action, their driving force and passion, a deeper meaning to what they do. 

How do you attract people to a common vision? 

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” —Simon Sinek 

If you have time, there is a great 18-minute Ted Talk by Simon Sinek titled How Great Leaders Inspire Action. 

People care about why you do what you do and rarely care about what you do. A mission gives you your why. Understand the why of what you do and make that your calling for people to join or decide to use your product or services. Appeal to the why, and you appeal to the people. 

At Conscious Branding, we work with clients to develop their brand manifesto. They leverage their brand manifesto to communicate why they do what they do, their mission. With a list of 10 to 25 “We Believe” statements, they are able to build the foundation for their mission. Many of these statements communicate the good outcomes they desire for their clients, the community and the positive impact they believe they can have on our world. 

Incredible things happen when you seek the underlying emotion behind a mission. Interestingly, there seems to be a common theme. In some form, one or more of these words are included in why companies do what they do: growth, happiness, meaning or abundance. These four words are also what individuals seek in life and become a way in which to connect and attract individuals to rally behind your mission. 

By appealing to people’s emotional sense of mission, you connect with what people really care about. This is how you lead people to rally behind a mission and build momentum to achieve the mission for the good of members, community and, ultimately, the world. The key is that it must deliver positively for all involved. As previously mentioned, anyone, regardless of the position they hold in a company, can do this. 

Next time you have an idea, embrace it. You are a leader. Find your why and move to action.