Being a good leader is by far one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish in the whole of business (or any other) reality and is achieved only by a select few who’ve had the patience, mental fortitude and prowess to master the skill set every good patron needs if he is to inspire those who follow him.
Being a leader is not only about giving orders and expecting others to follow them – it’s the act of inspiring people to do what’s right even if you don’t tell them to; to have people follow you even when you don’t necessarily want to be followed; to be respected and revered. A true leader knows that those who follow him should do so because they want to, not because they must.
In “The Prince” Machiavelli says that it’s better to be feared than loved if you can’t be both. I say it’s better to be genuinely respected – it is then and only then that people will follow you truly and you will be a successful leader. Those have ruled with fear have been brought down by the same people they oppressed and those who have been loved have fallen from grace.
It’s respect that’s never failed to make a good leader. And even though reading can’t really help you become the leader your followers deserve, there are some books out there that can point you in the right direction and give you an incentive to improve. Here are some of them.
Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”
One of the greatest works about military strategy, this short book is an absolutely must for anyone who wants to be a proper leader and/or a successful negotiator. Even though originally the book was written about warfare, it can be easily applied to everyday life, as well as business.
There are some quotes that prove that point. For example, Sun Tzu talks about what kind of power knowledge is. If you are aware of yourself, as well as what you’re up against, you are going to win every battle. If you only know yourself, but your opponents intentions, thoughts and characteristics remain a mystery to you, then you are as likely to lose as you are to win.
But the worst case scenario is knowing neither the enemy, nor yourself – that’s when your defeat is guaranteed. How do you apply this in real life? Well, it’s simple. When you are negotiating, you must know what you want and what you have, as well as what your opponent knows and has.
This way you can exploit your leverage and if you’re better at bluffing, you are going to win many negotiations. But why is this important for a leader? Because the leader must lead by example. You need to be a good negotiator and know yourself, your opponents, as well as your employees.
Knowledge is a crucial aspect of being a good and respected leader as opposed being a despised or simply feared one. This book, alone, is enough to make a good leader. But I have another one for you that will beautifully complement this one.
Robert Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
As I’ve already said, knowledge is power and crucial to the good and while “The Art of War” will show you why that is (among many other useful life lessons) “Influence” will show you how to utilize that knowledge in order to become more persuasive and show people why you are the onethey should follow.
This book is essentially “social science meets everyday life” – it gives you a glimpse through the eyes of people whose job is to persuade other people into doing something, while in the same time shows you how you can protect yourself from becoming a gullible tool. It’s a really great read you are going to vastly benefit from.
There are many books of this type you can read, although, like I said, books can only point you in the right direction, but you have to reallywant to become a good leader in order to truly achieve it. Thinking that people should do what you want because you’re their boss will only take you so far…
Author Bio: Morgan Johnes is a freelance blogger and writer keen on topics about career and personal development. He currently works as an HR at http://www.shinylondon.co.uk/carpet-cleaning-paddington-w2/ and he loves his job because he learns new things every day.