Natural born leader is a common phrase. Although certain characteristics of a leader are inborn, it’s true that most can be learned.

FOLLOWSHIP: the practice of doing what other people suggest, rather than taking the lead

I received a compliment once from a friend and mentor that, at the time, I thought it was odd. Now I understand exactly what he meant. He said that I was still a good follower. Working together while teaching weapons and tactics was as much of an opportunity to learn from one another as it was to deliver instruction. As the youngest member of the group, I immediately saw the value in placing myself in the student mindset when my elder colleagues were speaking. This friend pointed out that a great teacher never stops learning, even from his students, and referenced historical minds such as Sun Tzu and ancient Taoists. In essence, he opened my eyes to a new level of humility- one that requires a leader to remember the fundamentals of his art and what it took to learn them, and that a wise master will always embrace the opportunity to be a student.

HUMILITY: the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.

To be humble is something of an art for those who do not come by it naturally. Having humility as a leader is not to say that you cannot lead from the front, or lead with a low tolerance for unnecessary things. Having humility as a leader is a reminder to those following you that you are human and capable of mistakes, and especially that as a leader, you are willing to acknowledge your limitations and look to others in order to accomplish goals in the best manner possible.

RESPECT: esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, apersonal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability

The concept is simple- take care of your people and your people will take care of you. Even in difficult environments, a respected person will find more pleasure in his work than one who feels unimportant, unappreciated, or unloved.


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