Leadership: The Magic Ingredient

leadershipLeadership is an amazing thing… especially when that magic ingredient is present in someone early in their career.

This past weekend, I was at a conference providing career advice to career professionals from all over the world.  It was interesting to hear so many different stories and career goals.

But the best stories came from young people who were early in their careers.  I just loved hearing about their enthusiasm, and it is at this point that I could see their future clearly and the success that they will undoubtedly enjoy.

And it boils down to one thing:

They are asking questions.

The secret to leadership is all about being aware enough to stop and ask questions… it doesn’t mean questioning oneself or one’s decisions, but asking questions like:

“Is there a better way of doing this?”

“How can I be better?”

“What do I need to know/do to get to where I want to be?”

“What steps do you recommend?”

The people that don’t pause and ponder things are the ones who make mistake after mistake, and are not self-aware enough to make course corrections to avoid costly miscalculations. They are arrogant, and come across as self-entitled, which can be damaging to their personal brand, not to mention their careers.

But another thing that people who demonstrate successful leadership have is humility.

The humility to realize that they aren’t perfect, mistakes are bound to happen, and that they realize that others have been there before them and made those same mistakes.  Most importantly, they realize that it is ok to reach out and ask for advice…  in order to avoid those pitfalls.

There’s a certain humility and humbleness that takes place when asking for help, and when someone takes the time to make such a request, it motivates others to lend the assistance for which they are asking.

The best leadership examples are ones that are respected, and respect comes from asking the right questions to better understand the world and how they fit in it.