Be A Leader, not a follower.

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

Good leaders listen. “None is so perfect that he does not need at times the advice of others. He is an incorrigible ass who will never listen to any one”. -Gracian

Most people in life are happy to follow the lead of other people, sit on the fence in a debate, or have the attitude of hiding at the back of the class. The most successful people are leaders who make things happen by taking a cheerful outlook and working extremely hard to reach their goals. We can all become leaders; this section may help you achieve this.

Here is a story from a dear friend about her experience:

I grew up as a highly nervous person who had minimal self-confidence and who was very shy. I was not happy being this way and often felt jealous of others who were glad to speak up and take control of tasks and situations. I wanted to be one of these leaders, not the follower I certainly had become.

In my early twenties, I decided that the time had arrived to make a series of life-changing decisions. I was determined to have a happy and successful life and knew I needed to change my attitude and approach.

I was unhappy where I worked and joined an employment agency to find alternative employment. In the agency’s reception area, I started speaking to a man hoping to find a different job. His name was Mark, and we got on well and wished each other the best of luck in our quest to find work. We even exchanged phone numbers and vowed to update each other on our progress.

I was then interviewed by a man who explained his plan to help me find this new work role. He was very bright, clever, and cheerful and had many exciting ideas. He seemed confident that I would soon be employed for a different company more suited to their skills.

At one stage of the meeting, he described the scenario of a group interview. He suggested we may be ushered into a large room with a big table. As we sat down there, there would be a sheet of paper asking the group to debate a particular subject. He said that everyone in the room would be in the same position, all looking for work, all nervous; however, I could be whomever I wanted to be in that room. He said that I needed to stand up and take the lead by saying that I would function as chair and that if anyone had a comment they wanted to make, they could raise their hand. If I did this, I would show my prospective employer I was a leader.

I went home and thought about this and did not believe I had it in me to act the way he wanted me to, as I was not a leader. Later that evening, Mark phoned, and all he was talking about was the group interview scenario. He also said there was no way he could stand up in the way that had been described.

I did not have ever to attend a group interview, but Mark did. He surprised himself by conducting the advice and said that after he had told his statement about being the chair, he had never felt so powerful and in control. For the rest of the day, other group members repeatedly asked him questions as if he were some team leader. He was immensely proud of himself, and I am happy to report that he was successful in that interview and is incredibly happy in his new position. 

He has also taken the success and learning experience into his social life and states that he has never had higher self-esteem. I am happy for him as he is a genuine person who works extremely hard. He is also one of the only friends that I can honestly say that I trust.

I have taken inspiration from Mark and have entered a career of helping people who stutter to achieve fluency. I enjoy this, which gives me job satisfaction. I am also far more confident than ever and have finally found happiness.

In conclusion, we all have it in us to be a leader. We must be brave and determined to take control and remember that all we can do in life is try our best. We are only sure about living one life, so let us be happy and not accept second best. Be a leader in life, not a follower.