Shut up. Look. Listen. THINK. Now talk.

The internet has become a very social place in the past year or so. Social networks are popping up, tools are being created to communicate quickly (but not necessarily more efficiently), and the options on where to communicate are numerous. From these interactions friendships, romances, business partnerships, etc. are being formed. No matter what the relationship is when people decide to group together, there is usually a leader(s) of the group. For online interactions being thrown into a leadership role is not that difficult. The problem is most people aren’t meant to be leaders. Great to have leadership qualities but that will not make a person an efficient and effective leader. There are traits leaders tend to have:

  • Honesty – Lies will not inspire people to trust you.
  • Forward Thinking – If you’re not thinking about how what you do today will affect you tomorrow, give it up. You’ll lead the people following you into a mess. This should be a natural process.
  • Inspiring – Strength, confidence, longevity, mental clarity, etc., these are traits people attract to.
  • Courageous – Being able to overcome fear and successfully conquer hurdles, particularly under stressful situations, inspires people to trust you know what you are doing.
  • Fair – No playing favorites, no special treatment, no prejudice while balancing sensitivity to others.
  • Creative – Leaders create goals for the future to improve and enhance a current situation, product, etc.
  • Intelligence – This trait is one of the hardest ones because it requires a commitment to continue learning.

In truth, the list is long and dependent on the person evaluating the leader. One person might value enthusiasm but if the enthusiasm does not have longevity how long will the person trust the leader? Sensitivity and selflessness are wonderful traits if the person has skill in interpreting the intentions people have and has the strength and decisiveness to terminate relationships that detract from the goal.

There are many articles on how to be a leader and usually the list is something like this:

  1. Plan
  2. Have a goal
  3. Share your goals
  4. Take charge
  5. Motivate others

I could create many similar lists and they would all be accurate. My point: leaders naturally do their thing. It’s their gift. Reading those articles doesn’t mean you can actually be an effective and efficient leader. Have you ever encountered the person who has a degree in Business Management, has been employed at the company for years, and yet does not make a good manager? Yes?

Then you know what I’m talking about.

The one thing that is usually missing on those lists? Awareness. Being able to take a minute, look around, access the environment you’re in and respond appropriately towards the goal. This is ignored online many times. When writers don’t think about what they are saying before publishing, how others will respond to it, how to respond to those reactions yet think their blog or company will be #1…is there a bigger contradiction? A leader must think about all these things. Ignoring this important step can throw everything off but it is often done online. How many times have you noticed someone start a conversation online and was shocked by the obvious response by those commenting? Conscious thinking tools prompt us to do brain dumps without thinking about what we are saying before we say it or how that will impact the goals we are trying to achieve. What do I hear most often? “I didn’t think about that”.

Why not?