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Become a Better Leader: Plan

December 15, 2014

When Barack Obama was elected as the 44th president of the United States a change did sweep the country. No matter your political leanings, it’s undeniable that he called upon his personal strengths to catalyze those around him.

This is part two in a six-part series on how to become a better leader. Read part one.

When Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States, a change did sweep the country. No matter your political leanings, it’s undeniable that he called upon his personal strengths to catalyze those around him.

But one needn’t aspire to the office of the President of the United States to lead a movement. You can use your own gifts to inspire those around you. At the end of the day, great leaders nurture the human side of their organization as well as the business side of it.

David Gergen, a political consultant and advisor to four American presidents, correlates leaders to gardeners – they must cultivate and nourish a whole lot of new leaders who grow up around them. The visual is a compelling one. A gardener methodically plans where to put the seeds, the proper time for planting, how much sun and water the new seedlings should receive and how to keep pests from inflicting damage. The gardener then reaps great personal reward when each tiny seed matures into a beautiful horticultural specimen supported by a strong stem and robust root system that can sustain itself.

Budding leaders can learn from this. Leaders are proactive, not reactive. They examine the market with boundless curiosity to forecast trends and integrate them into their business strategies.

With an understanding of market dynamics, leaders are more apt to quickly adapt to new circumstances and opportunities, identify problems before they strike, and take appropriate and prompt action should a problem occur.

But this is not a lone wolf proposition, and you can’t be in every place, all the time. Your employees have great insight. They interact with your customers. They watch your competitors. And, they have opinions.

That is one reason that great leaders integrate others into their planning. The beauty of this process is that you don’t always hear what you want to hear. Dissenting opinion and a healthy debate leads to a healthier strategy that has considered every angle and possibility.

You and your organization will be stronger for it.

Next: Learn how to create a vision and share it

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