A search on Amazon for the word “leader” returns 478,000 hits. Searching for the word “follower” returns only 28,000.
While not everyone wants to be in a formal role of leadership, almost all of us want to be influential in the workplace and with family and friends. We want people to run with our suggestions and ideas — and see our influence manifest into great things.
Few People Actually Lead
Not many people get the privilege of leading others. Oh sure, there’s a lot of people out there with fancy titles and groups people they manage, but that doesn’t mean they lead.
Not convinced? Take inventory now:
How many managers or colleagues have you had in your career that were massively influential on you? Who made a really valuable contribution to your career? Who you would have bended over backwards to do almost anything for? That you loved working with?
When I ask people these questions, most people can only identify one or two people in their entire careers. A lot of people can’t name anyone.
That’s because most people don’t do what real leaders have learned.
What Leaders Do Differently
Real leaders never take their ability to lead for granted.
Let me explain:
Almost everyone has received the attention of a manager or organization when there was a problem, or when something was needed, or when our action on something was essential.
Lots of us have received attention after taking on a new role, a new set of responsibilities, or a highly visible project.
But outside of those times? How often have you received genuine attention from a colleague, manager, or organization?
Real leaders still find a way to engage and give real attention.
They continually focus on building rapport to enhance relationships.
Build for Longevity
The ancient Egyptians built pyramids for the ages. Some of these massive, stone structures have been standing for almost 5,000 years.
In order for a pyramid to tower, a majority of its volume must be at the foundational level.
The same is true for genuine leadership. In order to lead, we must focus more of our time on enhancing our relationships with others than we do in leading.
Way more time.
If we want to lead, we must first give, give, and give more to build a solid foundation with others. Only then have we earned the right to influence and lead.
Here’s the Strategy
In his world-famous, bestselling book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie gave the most attention (and page count) to enhancing relationships with others.
He gave slightly less attention to influence…and the least amount of attention to leadership — even through it’s the point of the book.
That’s because if you want to lead, you must enhance relationships first.
More than you do anything else.
And with consistency.
That’s why when we teach people how to do this in the Dale Carnegie Course, we feature this graphic outlining the focus on enhancing relationships first in order to lead.
Leaders spend the most time and energy building rapport and enhancing relationships. Done genuinely, this earns the right to do so much more.
9 Ways to Start
If you’ve never received it from us, here’s a 7-page, PDF of Dale Carnegie’s Secrets of Success. To enhance your relationships with others, make a commitment this week to apply one of the first nine principles with at least one individual.
If you do, you’ll immediately begin building the strong foundation you need to be a leader.
Immediate Audio Coaching
- Episode 99: Form a Supportive Team (9-minute audio)
- Episode 100: How to Get Traction for Change (7-minute audio)
- Episode 101: Highlight Early Wins (8-minute audio)
- Episode 102: Believe the Naysayers (9-minute audio)
All past episodes are available on the Carnegie Coach podcast archive.