By Matthew R. Chapman, Creator of Chapman Ventures, Shareholder of Chapman CG
Good leaders are made, not born. Sure, there are those lucky enough to be gifted with natural leadership “potential”—we all recall those who could effortlessly persuade us to follow them in any endeavor, be it sensible or not!—but any good leader will tell you that learning to influence, stand out from the crowd and effectively communicate are learned skills that require a lot of practice, patience, and a healthy dose of resilience. Because you’re going to get it wrong, a lot, before you start getting it right.
When I reflect on my younger self as a leader, I can’t help but cringe at my lack of finesse and my eagerness to “rally the troops”. I would fire out a message, excited to get my point across, and often neglected to make any attempt to build buy-in. Of course, more times than I’d prefer to admit, my ideas failed before they even got started because they were too large for me to implement alone, and I had not yet grasped one of the most important tenets of good leadership: influence. No one was going to do what I said simply because I said it.
Create shared interest
No one works harder than someone who believes in what they’re trying to achieve. So, one of the most beneficial lessons for me was to learn to create common ground. Before I could, or even should, ask someone to invest their energy in one of my ideas, I first should invest the time to understand their needs and desires.
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