Not all respected and admirable leaders are in actual designated “leadership positions.” We all have the opportunity to be a high quality leader every day, in whatever capacity the day calls for, whether it is with those in our same household or when conducting business worldwide.

Key to being a good leader is having the ability to lead AND follow. All men, women and teens in any profession can have a vision for greater personal and business success, no matter what position they hold. How? Because they have the knack to influence others of various socio-economic and age groups to “do” something beneficial with their "golden rule" way of life. They have a high sense of integrity and use wisdom in decision making. Although leaders are not always popular, which can be difficult at times, for the sake of the greater good they hold their ground. They will not allow themselves to make decisions they know are not right just to be popular. Leadership also means being humble enough to make corrections when having taken a wrong turn. Vulnerable? Yes! Can it also make you the kind of leader that motivates others to follow or be on your team? Absolutely!

Critical leadership includes being results-focused while still giving a warm word of support; operating from a mindset that incorporates their mind AND their heart in decision-making and problem resolution. Showing a willingness to let go of personal biases and positions to acknowledge other possibilities that could get even greater results; to create an environment of inclusion and acceptance critical to a motivated team; to think of themselves as resources and not just “bosses”.

Leadership Strategies & Outcomes: The impact of a Leader has no bounds! This ancient quote from Phillip II of Macedon still holds true today: “An army of deer led by a lion(esse) is more to be feared than an army of lions led by a deer.” Why? A lion(esse) is involved, firm and confident, and scouts new opportunities for provisions. They take position for battle AND they take care of their own. Deer are peaceful, passive and run away when frightened. We are lions.

Strong leaders "listen" to staff. Take this simple test to check your listening skills. At the end of your week, write three things you learned from employees (or even your kids) that week. Examples: insight about unhappy customers: is there a better way to handle a process or reasons why a project or promotion didn’t work? There is so much to learn from employees. If you can not list at least three things per week, you may not be listening carefully enough. People who know they are truly "heard" are more motivated to do their best to get along and to help increase the company's bottom line...which in turn should help increase theirs as well.

Nurture and Inspire: You can be a great leader without degrading others as you move forward in your career, or as a leader or coach. Always be mindful of other people’s feelings and never jump to conclusions about their behavior before gathering facts. Knowing what challenge they may be dealing with can put an entirely different spin on the outcome. We are all humans with human needs that can't always be left at our own front doors.

Positive Influence: We all have a need for a sense of belonging and the opportunity to do things that make those around us feel included. Leaders let internal and external clients know that they are valued members of the team. Female leaders are particularly talented at helping their employees feel like they belong. Talk to each employee as a human with needs, emotions and goals...because they are!

Develop an other-person mindset. Begin looking for ways to provide inclusion. Caring means a genuine concern for others that can create a more productive work atmosphere. Let’s do that whether at work or play, at home or on the job! Watch big dividends flow in.

Author's Bio: 

Rita Rocker-Craft is an international published author, life-transforming inspirational and educational speaker, communications and image specialist, and career consultant with She is a former Mrs. Nebraska and Mrs. America contestant and a Board member of Transformation Omaha. Rita inspires individuals to rise and go forward by providing powerful techniques for victorious personal and professional life makeovers. She is very authentic and transparent while filling her clients, audiences and readers with hope, help, humor and heart!