I might write a few posts here in regards to what I learned about leadership from my time in the service. To me, leadership is about what you do and not who you are. It's about having goals, a plan to meet those goals and taking action on that plan to meet those goals. That's the first step in leadership. Anybody can be a leader. You don't have to be rich or powerful or an officer or NCO in the military services to be a leader. Anybody can be a good leader. Including yourself. So, in my view, the first step towards becoming a leader is having goals for yourself, a plan to achieve those goals that include actions you can take today to start towards achieving those goals. These goals need to be very specific and measurable.
I like to go by the SMART acronym.
- S- Specific.
- M- Measurable.
- A- Attainable.
- R- Realistic and Relevant. Realistic goals that can be realistically achieved and also relevant to universally accepted good values.
- T- Time Based. You need to set a deadline to achieve those goals. If you don't meet those deadlines then try and set a new deadline and keep going and don't give up.
So, setting goals based on the SMART acronym is a good approach. But you can't just merely set goals based on the SMART acronym, you also have to have a plan. A leader should have goals that are based on something like the SMART acronym or the SMART acronym itself. But he or she also has to have a plan to achieve those goals. Here are steps in developing a plan to achieve your goal:
- This is part of setting your goal, but know what you want and that should be your goal and stated in your plan.
- Determine your starting point for your goal. Where are you starting at just before setting out to take action?
- Write down WHY you want to achieve this goal. Knowing why will keep you motivated to keep going.
- Write down your deadline for your goal in your plan.
- Write down what obstacles will prevent you from achieving your goals and ways you can overcome these obstacles or work around them.
- Determine what additional knowledge and skills you will need to obtain your goal and write down ways you can pay for the education you need to obtain the additional knowledge and skills you have. You might need to brainstorm first.
- NOBODY achieves their goal on their own. You will always need help from other people. Write down whose help you will need to achieve your goal. Make darn sure you appreciate any help they give you and show some gratitude.
- Write down what actions you need to take based on the questions you answered above to achieve your goal and then referring to those actions in your plan so that you remember what actions you need to take.
So to me, part of the art of leadership starts with you and nobody else. You have to have goals, a direction and a plan in your life and taking actions that are written in that plan. Leadership is what you do and not who you are. If you can't even come up with goals and a plan for yourself, then there is no way you can come up with goals and plans for an organization you are put in charge of for example. But this is just a small part of leadership.