One of the best ways to measure success is to look at ourselves through the eyes of others. Are we looked up to? Are we respected? Some of us are leaders, others are followers. The higher levels of success come from becoming a good leader. To get to the top we need the respect of others to perform our will. No one has ever reached the top solely by relying on themselves. That is why we need to look carefully about the type of relationship we decide to form with others. We need to inspire confidence.
So what are the ingredients of leadership? Among the most important is self belief. It should be pretty obvious that you are unlikely to get others to follow you if you do not have confidence in your own abilities. The display of confidence is crucial for several reasons. First of all, it gives a clear physical presence of leadership, a rallying point for others. Secondly, it inspires confidence in others knowing that there is a strong hand on the tiller. No finer example of this can be found than the tradition among 18th and 19th century captains to remain a visible presence on the deck of a ship right in the heat of battle, a tradition that cost the great Lord Nelson his life but inspired his men to victory and beyond. Thirdly, confidence creates an aura of invincibility in negotiations and other high pressure situations. Keep your cool, and enjoy the benefits that confident, clear decision making will bring.
Of course it would be naive to assume that the majority of leaders in the world of business are motivated by helping others. Yet the best lead companies understand who the best people to do business with are. They both have an atmosphere of mutual respect and decency and include sound and just morals among their most important guiding principles. Being a good leader requires hard work. But it will be worth it, because people will be far more likely to go the extra mile for you if you inspire confidence such that they respect you and your principles.
A good leader is able to command respect with out being a tyrant or a push over. A good leader finds that people and opportunity attract themselves to him. This is because the good leader has struck the right balance of being just and fair but firm and hard headed when necessary. In the same way that the first priority of any captain is to put the interests of the ship as a whole before anything else, so too does a successful businessman or manager put the interests of their enterprise or project before anything else. A good leader must not be afraid of what others think of him for this is negative thinking and will affect his confidence and leadership ability.
You must be knowledgeable about every aspect of your profession or business. There must not be a single aspect of your organisation that you do not know anything about. You must be prepared to ask questions, read and do research. Stay abreast of all the most topical issues. Make sure that there is no part of your role or organisation that you can not advise about or comment on. Wise men once said that knowledge is power and it is true. With knowledge you gain leverage among others. The experts you liaise with will respect you for the trouble you have taken in getting to know things you are not expected to understand. The more strings you add to your bow the more confident you will become in all of your daily activities. This also sets an example to everyone else you are connected with. It should inspire confidence in others to become greater.