3 Steps That Will Help You Start Leading

by  John Bossong  |  Leadership Development

We are all leaders.  Everyone can lead.  In today’s economy, everyone must lead.

The status quo days are over.

It’s all about being connected, building relationships, and leading.

It doesn’t matter whether you work in a cubicle, in a field, in a retail store, or out of your home.

Leadership is a choice.

The hard part is deciding to lead. Doing something knowing you might fail requires courage, whatever that something is.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Below are 3 things Seth Godin discusses in his book Poke The Box that can help any leader. I highly recommend anyone in a leadership position read the book and then:

Start something

  1. Everyone has a passion.  Everyone can start something.  But everyone doesn’t start something.  It’s about having the courage to start something. Create your map and don’t wait for someone to give you one.
  2. Pick Yourself.”  Don’t wait for someone to choose you.  You have the ability to choose yourself.
  3. If your organization doesn’t let you speak up, speak up somewhere else.  Find a tribe or form a tribe.  Godin states that not starting is worse than being wrong.

Take the initiative

  1. Initiate change.  This creates power and ownership.  Don’t worry about getting credit; just make it happen.  You will be rewarded.
  2. You must be proactive. Find work worth doing and go do it.  It’s that simple.   No one is holding you back.  Do not be reactive.  Being late is not good in today’s economy.
  3. Start a blog, form a group, build a tribe (even if it’s small).  Instigate something.

Fail a lot

  1. Nothing fails like success.   Every year organizations expect better results.  More sales, more profits, more, more, more.  That’s just how it is.  So, if you are successful, nothing will “fail” like success.
  2. The person who fails the most wins.  Don’t be afraid of fear, face it, risk it.
  3. Learn how to sell and face rejection.  If you can sell, you will learn how to fail often.

If you look at history, most of the great success stories are a result of previous failures.

Godin must have failed at various times in his career.  Although he’s highly successful now, I’ve got to believe there were failures preceding his success.

  • Steve Jobs was kicked out of the company he founded.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
  • Great baseball hitters are only successful 30% of the time.

Fail a lot and you will be successful.  Persevere, grow, learn and be an agent of change.

What do you need to start?  Better yet, what do you need to start, finish and risk failing? 

Photo © Sergej Khackimullin –

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What People Are Saying

Karin Hurt  |  08 Sep 2012  |  Reply

I love the concept of “picking yourself”. As leaders it is so important that we are authentic and chose carefully how we show up.

John Bossong  |  08 Sep 2012  |  Reply

Krin – I agree. We have the ability to choose how we show up. We don’t have to wait on someone to give us approval to lead. It’s a decision we can make ourselves.

Alan Derek Utley  |  08 Sep 2012  |  Reply

John, great stuff. Just today I was speaking with a college student who is trying to make a job change within her own organization. I asked what steps she’d taken to make that happen, and she said “I applied.” I suggested that was a great start, but not enough. I encouraged her to take it a step further. Call the hiring manager. Get her name known. Tell him she wants the job. As you say, take the initiative. Leading starts with leading ourselves, and if we wait for others to make things happen for us, we will be waiting a long time. Thanks for the great tips and the book recommendation! – Alan

John Bossong  |  08 Sep 2012  |  Reply

Alan – thanks for the comments and story. Great advice you gave to the lady looking to change jobs. I’d also suggest that she volunteer to do something for them, show them her skills, what she can do, how she leads.

You will like the book. If you like it, read “Tribes” by Seth Godin also. Thanks for the comments, and take care.


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