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HOT TOPIC How to become a leader?

JohnFuture

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Hello guys,

I have to admit this forum is very good in terms of theory (thanks in advance), but now I am at the present moment thinking that I actually need execution.

I am working full time as a software engineer, reading books, listening podcasts about mindset and entrepreneurship, basically brainwashing my brain with the content that will help me to serve in the future many people.

My question is how do I become a leader, not just a leader but a person who could lead people?
I am about to start toastmasters, because I know how important is to be on the front of the people.

Don't get me wrong I don't want to be the leader who points people what to do but to show and work with the team together. How can I improve leadership skills, what actions or opportunities should I do? I feel that I need more confidence in this area since I know this will be the most and difficult job ever. For successful business in the future, I do need this skill.

Any thoughts?
 

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MTEE1985

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Hello guys,

I have to admit this forum is very good in terms of theory (thanks in advance), but now I am at the present moment thinking that I actually need execution.

I am working full time as a software engineer, reading books, listening podcasts about mindset and entrepreneurship, basically brainwashing my brain with the content that will help me to serve in the future many people.

My question is how do I become a leader, not just a leader but a person who could lead people?
I am about to start toastmasters, because I know how important is to be on the front of the people.

Don't get me wrong I don't want to be the leader who points people what to do but to show and work with the team together. How can I improve leadership skills, what actions or opportunities should I do? I feel that I need more confidence in this area since I know this will be the most and difficult job ever. For successful business in the future, I do need this skill.

Any thoughts?
It is absolutely one of, if not THE most important skill you can develop. Can you clarify why you feel you need it right now though? Are you currently working on a project where you are overseeing others or because it is in your future plans?

There are some good books out there on the topic but ultimately, until you are put in a leadership role you can’t fully have the skill.

@Kak Where did you start?
 

Kak

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I wouldn’t consider myself some ‘amazing leader’ by any stretch of the word. I, like most of you, simply strive for ongoing improvement.

@JohnFuture you have honed in on the most imprortant skill for building real enterprise. Nicely done. Anything can be done with the right leadership. Assembling the proper people, resources and capital around a project is our job as entrepreneurs.

With that in mind, take that knowledge and begin applying it. Want to build a space hotel? Ok, get enough people to believe in it, fund it, build it, launch it, and book it. Practice makes you better.

Books help, but they’re not going to make you a leader. Do.
 
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RayAndré

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Hi @JohnFuture!

You've essentially described the last year of my life.

"How do I go from a full-time IC programmer to an impactful fastlane leader?"

If you're like me, then you're NOT leading even in tiny everyday situations. Ask yourself these questions:
  1. How decisive are you?
  2. When interacting with others, how often do you make a choice that affects the group?
  3. When in a conversation with others, how often do speak vs just sit and listen to their babble?
  4. When in a conversation, how easily/quickly do you end/leave the conversation once you realize you want to?
These are just examples. Point being, lead yourself every minute of every day first. Baby steps :) It will become habit. It will build your future.

"Extreme Ownership" as mentioned above is a GREAT book. Read it.

I'm looking forward to your progress on this one, its something I'm working on myself.
 

TylerH1994

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The book Extreme Ownership is fantastic, I HIGHLY recommend it.

And I promise, Jocko won't just try to talk like a hard a$$ the whole time. He talks about how the lessons he learned in the military transfer over to what he sees in everyday life, and all of them are applicable.

Good share @Raoul Duke
 

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Hi @JohnFuture!

You've essentially described the last year of my life.

"How do I go from a full-time IC programmer to an impactful fastlane leader?"

If you're like me, then you're NOT leading even in tiny everyday situations. Ask yourself these questions:
  1. How decisive are you?
  2. When interacting with others, how often do you make a choice that affects the group?
  3. When in a conversation with others, how often do speak vs just sit and listen to their babble?
  4. When in a conversation, how easily/quickly do you end/leave the conversation once you realize you want to?
These are just examples. Point being, lead yourself every minute of every day first. Baby steps :) It will become habit. It will build your future.

"Extreme Ownership" as mentioned above is a GREAT book. Read it.

I'm looking forward to your progress on this one, its something I'm working on myself.
Took the .. errr.. characters right out from my fingertips.

I firmly believe you are what you continually do. If you're a follower in your own personal social situations, then that's indicative of the mindset you have.

To shift, start by leading in everything. Start the conversations, steer them (not forcefully, obviously), put forth suggestions for the group. Be decisive but not domineering.

Another aspect that I didn't see mentioned is to develop your tendency to build up others. When you're at work, don't hesitate to talk up your teammates to others (assuming it's justified). It's quite rare that people will follow a leader that beats down the troops, so it's important to start building that characteristic.

Another idea: be the one to jump on the grenade. If there's some task that the management brings up, be the first to volunteer, if you can get the job done. Become known as the person who gets stuff done, and this will help in your path to becoming a leader. Let's face it, nobody will follow the incompetent.

Disclaimer: I wouldn't consider myself a strong leader, but these are the traits and actions of those that have inspired me to follow them.
 

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Join a competitive sports team and see if you end up Captain.

Almost all Military Officers and FTSE 100 Directors played competitive sport at school and a big chunk at University too.

Come to England and have a look at any private School. Sports Playing Fields is what you will see.

Here's why.

You learn confidence, focus, a passion to succeed, an ability to lead and inspire, an ability to view failure as feedback.

You learn that winning requires a healthy attitude to risk, to silence doubts, to pick yourself up after a loss and that you cannot win alone.

If you look at most successful people in any field you will see they were displaying characteristics relevant to their field at school.

If you don't want to join any team sports join a club or society and apply to get on any committee.

Dan
 
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JohnFuture

JohnFuture

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It is absolutely one of, if not THE most important skill you can develop. Can you clarify why you feel you need it right now though? Are you currently working on a project where you are overseeing others or because it is in your future plans?

There are some good books out there on the topic but ultimately, until you are put in a leadership role you can’t fully have the skill.

@Kak Where did you start?
I feel it because the earlier you will start the better you will be in the next years, in my case my business.
I also feel now that I want to challenge my work, since during meetings I am not leading the meeting but others, perhaps not feeling so confident. What books could you suggest?
 
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JohnFuture

JohnFuture

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Hi @JohnFuture!

You've essentially described the last year of my life.

"How do I go from a full-time IC programmer to an impactful fastlane leader?"

If you're like me, then you're NOT leading even in tiny everyday situations. Ask yourself these questions:
  1. How decisive are you?
  2. When interacting with others, how often do you make a choice that affects the group?
  3. When in a conversation with others, how often do speak vs just sit and listen to their babble?
  4. When in a conversation, how easily/quickly do you end/leave the conversation once you realize you want to?
These are just examples. Point being, lead yourself every minute of every day first. Baby steps :) It will become habit. It will build your future.

"Extreme Ownership" as mentioned above is a GREAT book. Read it.

I'm looking forward to your progress on this one, its something I'm working on myself.
Hey! Thanks for the tips, I do like the small baby steps, now I am paying more attention to things I say and how I do it. For your questions, do you tend to participate and lead conversations/meetings or listen only, or both?
 
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JohnFuture

JohnFuture

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Join a competitive sports team and see if you end up Captain.

Almost all Military Officers and FTSE 100 Directors played competitive sport at school and a big chunk at University too.

Come to England and have a look at any private School. Sports Playing Fields is what you will see.

Here's why.

You learn confidence, focus, a passion to succeed, an ability to lead and inspire, an ability to view failure as feedback.

You learn that winning requires a healthy attitude to risk, to silence doubts, to pick yourself up after a loss and that you cannot win alone.

If you look at most successful people in any field you will see they were displaying characteristics relevant to their field at school.

If you don't want to join any team sports join a club or society and apply to get on any committee.

Dan
Thanks for the tips!
I used to play ice hockey as a goalkeeper. I could confidently be in front of people on the ice rink, I did more shouting than being a leader, however, I liked to take shots on me and I knew that I am the one who takes the last shot. Once I am in the room full of people, I become so small, so I can't make things happen. I believe it's down to self-esteem and confidence. I am doing now just gym, I feel that I have to get back to the team sport where I can be in a team with others.
 

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RayAndré

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Hey! Thanks for the tips, I do like the small baby steps, now I am paying more attention to things I say and how I do it. For your questions, do you tend to participate and lead conversations/meetings or listen only, or both?
I used to just listen. I didn't care where the conversation went. I didn't have a reason, a why, for even being involved in the conversation.

My thoughts as to why I am this way is a whole different story having to do with the family environment I was raised in.

But that's the past, and if I stay that way its by choice.

I choose to improve.

The other day I was in an apartment-complex jacuzzi, chatting with an older guy who just moved here. Well, I realized it was more like was listening to the older guy. He clearly liked talking and was just chatting away. I thought to myself, "Am I really just going to sit here and let this guy talk my ear off?"
No!
So what do I do? I could 1) leave, or 2) engage/steer the conversation myself. At that point I started talking more, asking questions, and contributing my own stories. One thing I realize is you sometimes have to interrupt the other person to do this! You speaking means they're not speaking. You have to accept this and believe your voice is just as (if not more) important than the other person's. Same with your ideas and opinions.

That's one small example. My tone and approach with coworkers and project managers at work has also changed. It can be hard to force yourself to start 1) knowing what you want, and 2) taking ownership of making it happen on such a small level like a conversation or meeting.

But it will be worth it. That's for sure.
 

Kung Fu Steve

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To influence others you must first learn how to influence yourself.

To influence yourself, you'll need to understand your needs, your values, your rules, and your beliefs (The driving forces in your own psyche).

Once you understand those you can start to identify other peoples' needs, values, rules, and beliefs.

Then you can start to influence people they way THEY would be influenced... not how you think they should be influenced.

Level 1 is influencing yourself
Level 2 is influencing one on one
Level 3 is influencing groups of people
Level 4 is global influence -- meaning -- creating environments where people are naturally influenced

Many tactics and skills and platitudes such as "lead by example" or "be the change you wish to see" but there's a lot of truth to those.
 

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Take action and openly share your results.

People respect those who do the things they are scared to do.
And they follow those who share these journey with these actions along with the processes, failures, and successes.

Everyone on this forum with influence...
- takes huge action
- shares that action (or you wouldn't even know about it)
- openly discusses both failure and success (different between a leader and someone trying to sell you X)
- they give back and have a heart

So...
- Pick the area you wish to lead in
- Do the hard work others won't or are scared to do right now
- Share that with others
- Help those who are coming up behind you to have the same success
= Leader
 

Raoul Duke

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To influence others you must first learn how to influence yourself.

To influence yourself, you'll need to understand your needs, your values, your rules, and your beliefs (The driving forces in your own psyche).

Once you understand those you can start to identify other peoples' needs, values, rules, and beliefs.

Then you can start to influence people they way THEY would be influenced... not how you think they should be influenced.

Level 1 is influencing yourself
Level 2 is influencing one on one
Level 3 is influencing groups of people
Level 4 is global influence -- meaning -- creating environments where people are naturally influenced

Many tactics and skills and platitudes such as "lead by example" or "be the change you wish to see" but there's a lot of truth to those.
How can I apply what I was able to do with my weight-loss? To business. Is it just sheer determination?

EXECUTION - Master of My Own Fear
 

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@Kung Fu Steve How do I Identify other people's value,need,rules and beliefs if I dont know them so good, how to read between lines ?

Can you apply that in everyday situations ?
 

Raoul Duke

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Can you clarify? What do you mean?
I lost 110 lbs from Jan to Oct 2018. That isn't a small feat to accomplish. I want to identify how I did this and apply to other things. IE; business.
 

Kung Fu Steve

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@Kung Fu Steve How do I Identify other people's value,need,rules and beliefs if I dont know them so good, how to read between lines ?

Can you apply that in everyday situations ?
That's a massive question (and a massive study of human psychology).

But the right questions and listening to what's TRULY being said is the key.

I have literally hundreds of these but you can really learn about what drives someone by asking things like...

Who are you?
Who are you not?
Life is about...
Life isn't about...
Your most important beliefs are...
Who are you at work?
Who are you to the public?
Who are you to yourself?
How much is a long time? What's a short time?
What's acceptable? Unacceptable?
The past is...
The present is...

What's most important to you in life?
What's the second more important thing?

Would you rather have security or adventure?
Would you rather be loved or be important?

Questions like these are not only interesting (everyone will have a different answer) but you'll start to see who is more security driven versus variety. Who needs certainty and who needs excitement. Who wants to be unique and special and who wants to be a part of a team.

Once you can understand and appreciate someone's world it is so much easier to influence someone. Leadership IS influence.

There's that old saying I'm going to butcher:

When that guy spoke, people were inspired...

When he spoke, the people marched.
 

Kung Fu Steve

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I lost 110 lbs from Jan to Oct 2018. That isn't a small feat to accomplish. I want to identify how I did this and apply to other things. IE; business.
You tell us; why were you so successful? What did you do differently?
 

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Hitler was one of the greatest leaders of all time. Got an entire nation to do his bidding.
 

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I feel it because the earlier you will start the better you will be in the next years, in my case my business.
I also feel now that I want to challenge my work, since during meetings I am not leading the meeting but others, perhaps not feeling so confident. What books could you suggest?
1) listen carefully to everything @Kung Fu Steve says

2) figure out a way at work to start leading at something no matter how small, do a good job and it will snowball.

I personally like Simon Sinek’s books and Jocko’s books mentioned above. Start with Extreme Ownership. Even though he is ex military he is not a hammer pounding nails kind of leader, he knows his shit. My favorite thing he says is that a great leader needs to have humility. When I was overseeing 25 guys at the country club I worked at I made it a point to give them credit for EVERYTHING good, and take the blame for EVERY complaint. It fostered an enormous amount of loyalty from my staff and made us all better.
 

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I just listened to this excellent podcast from Andy Frisella on leadership, well worth a listen


The MFCEO Project by Andy Frisella | #100to0 on Apple Podcasts

*It didn't link to the actual podcast for some reason but the heading is
"LEADERSHIP: The dichotomy it takes to dominate ft. Jocko Willink"

*** Apologies I didn't realise its already been mentioned in the thread! Well let me say a +1 to this podcast haha!
 
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I am working full time as a software engineer, reading books, listening podcasts about mindset and entrepreneurship, basically brainwashing my brain with the content that will help me to serve in the future many people.

My question is how do I become a leader, not just a leader but a person who could lead people?
A few thoughts from another full time software guy. I've spent the past 6 months focusing real hard on team building and culture.

1. Hire good people

Seems obvious, but this one is easy mess up. Drive and ambition are more important than technical skills. A hunger to improve is golden. My last hire was a guy who was a bit green on the technical skills but has really picked things up quick. His communication is excellent, he brings up issues ahead of time, and he just wants to become the best developer he can be, as quickly as humanly possible. Those traits are invaluable to have.

2. Know your shit

Respect is important. It's a two way street. If you aren't impressed by what your people are doing, you f*cked up on #1. If your people think you are an idiot, then you probably shouldn't be leading them.

This becomes even more important when interacting with people outside your direct line of report. Don't overstep. Know what you are talking about and be honest when you don't.

3. Communicate well

Everyone has a different way of communicating. Learn it. Speak their language. Figure out what is important to them and what makes their eyes glaze over.

Tech people tend to be much more direct and literal. You'll have a much easier time laying out projects, requirements, etc to these people.

Also, make sure everyone on the team knows what your vision is. We keep it simple - make the best software possible faster than anyone else can. This has worked well for us. It keeps product quality high, development costs low and taps into just enough of a competitive edge to keep things engaging.

4. Let them grow

Assuming this is for a software related leadership position - your goal should be to have your people be the best developers they can be. This means passing you in technical ability.

Do everything you can to foster this. Buy them books. Show them reference materials and websites. Give direct feedback where you can see improvements can be made.

Encourage them to take risks and try new things. Explore what went wrong when things blow up. Praise them appropriately when things go good.

5. Drop your ego and get out of the way

The ultimate goal is to have a self-directed team that does not require you any more. This means no more playing super hero and saving the day when things go sideways. No more being the only guy who knows how to work on an area.

Drop the ego and do what is best for the team. Spread the knowledge and extricate yourself from as many things as possible. Rethink your position. You aren't leading the cavalry charge to war. You aren't playing tactical chess. You are bringing smart, driven people together and giving them the resources they need to do their best while simultaneously removing their obstacles. That's it.

While simple, this involves trusting your team, which is hard. And, in turn, taking ownership for the inevitable failures that will happen as the team grows. You are 100% responsible for any mistakes made. Learn from them, but don't dwell on them.

And finally, get out of the way. People take time to grow. Give both them and yourself time to learn and grow. Once things start to click, you will be amazed at how handsomely this stuff pays off.

6. Read

@csalvato has some incredibly good posts on team building. Start here. He knows his stuff and has been a huge factor in me getting to where I am today.

Jocko's Extreme Ownership is a great one.

Notes to a Software Team Leader is also great.

And a classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
 

Hijena1

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That's a massive question (and a massive study of human psychology).

But the right questions and listening to what's TRULY being said is the key.

I have literally hundreds of these but you can really learn about what drives someone by asking things like...

Who are you?
Who are you not?
Life is about...
Life isn't about...
Your most important beliefs are...
Who are you at work?
Who are you to the public?
Who are you to yourself?
How much is a long time? What's a short time?
What's acceptable? Unacceptable?
The past is...
The present is...

What's most important to you in life?
What's the second more important thing?

Would you rather have security or adventure?
Would you rather be loved or be important?

Questions like these are not only interesting (everyone will have a different answer) but you'll start to see who is more security driven versus variety. Who needs certainty and who needs excitement. Who wants to be unique and special and who wants to be a part of a team.

Once you can understand and appreciate someone's world it is so much easier to influence someone. Leadership IS influence.

There's that old saying I'm going to butcher:

When that guy spoke, people were inspired...

When he spoke, the people marched.
wow that is a realy good answer, happy to have someone to talk about this subject that does´t say " WTF ?! "
I find some questions really hard can´t even answer them, guess I need to explore myself more deeply.
For example :
"The past is...
The present is...
What's most important to you in life?"
What would you say if I say that past ist now and the present is also now. We are always living NOW that is only and ultimately thing that exist, only remaining question is : Are you awere of it ?

Plus I love this three questions:
Who are you at work?
Who are you to the public?
Who are you to yourself?

That is right to the bone !
I can see that everyday, people acting, so many faces in one person,lies and saddnes. But sometimes I am having a huge problem when I act the sime at home and work, people call me weird or they cant believe what they see like its too much for them. I am doing something wrong ?

Like in UNSCRIPTED I was impressed by chapter where MJ talks about his/our own mind and how hard is actually to truly understand it self, how you need to play all sorts of tricks and naturally "he" is going to put a fight. For me it was like a portal to see that almost everything that my perents tought me, sadly was wrong.
 
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jlwilliams

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Great conversation.

Something I'm working on myself that fits this pursuit is putting my environment under control, where I can. Little things like cleaning my house and car, organizing this area and throwing out that junk all have the effect of exercising self control. Self control is the cornerstone of leadership.

Cleaning your act up will help you carry yourself like a winner.
 
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Robert Williams

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If you want to become a leader than first thing you should be honest.It is One of the qualities that define a good leader is honesty. When you are responsible for a team of people, it is important to be straightforward. Your company and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior as a key value, your team will follow. You sholuu be hard worker if you are handing a team.
 
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ChrisV

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How to be a leader? Be the best at what you do. Just get better every day.

The alpha in many species is the one who can kick everyone's a$$

But in humans, the alpha is the most competent person in the room.
 

DragoonDB

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A lot of great insight shared on this thread - I'll add an additional thought.

Make decisions.

I'm continually surprised by how few people want to take on the responsibility of making decisions. You don't need to be a manager or leader to do this. In my mind, there's always been a few levels - although you may not go through each (this isn't a perfect science). This also assumes you aren't an a$$hole to work with.

1. Make decisions about the question at hand, but keeping them internal. This is checkers. You're early in your journey. You're beginning to have your own thoughts (so you're already ahead of many), but don't have the confidence to share them. You may be comparing your decisions making against that of others, and beginning to build your lens. What factors do I need to consider? What assumptions am I making? How does my decision making compare to more established leaders (formal and informal)?

2. Make decisions about the question at hand, and share them. You've now established enough confidence to share your thoughts, and can also talk to why you're making these decisions. This is where a lot of good learning happens, as your lens and thought process will get challenged.

3. Make decisions about the question at hand, share them and become a respected voice. You've established enough credibility in Step 2 that you're now a respected voice - others may be looking to you as their comparison when growing. More continued learning, as you may also be working with bigger decision makers and expand your worldview.

4. Make decisions about the future, share them and become a respected voice. This is chess. You're now looking ahead. What are the implications of my decision? How will this action, or that of someone else, impact our future course? How do I plan for move 10, although I'm looking at move 1? What's the worst that can happen, what's the probability and are we prepared? More continued learning, as you're looking ahead - and you don't have a magic ball.

Now I'm certainly oversimplifying this as I write during lunch at work, but wanted to encourage you to make decisions. At all levels you should be making decisions - this can be done at any time, and most certainly should be done when you aren't leading.

Speed of thought.
Speed of alignment.
Speed of execution.
 

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