Everyone is a leader and the first person we should lead is ourself. It was Zig Ziglar who said that "You must manage yourself before you can lead someone else." Not a truer statement was ever said. Let me give you a thought to ponder. If you are reactive, blowing off some steam, and saying a few choice, shall we say, colorful descriptions, is it conceivable that your children will do the same thing? You may be thinking, "But, Mark, I don't say those words in front of my children?" Are you sure? Our character is with us all the time. They will pick up on it in very subtle ways.

Let's say you are a supervisor of a team of 50 sales professionals. They will treat your customers and prospects the same way that you treat them. Are you honest, kind, helpful, motivational, and positive in all your dealings with them?

There is an organization here in the Cincinnati area that seems to not understand this. They hire managers of things instead of leaders. What does that mean? Well, a manager concentrates on the details of systems. Those systems may be equipment, procedures, or even to an extent, goals. As important as these elements are, they fall way short of excellence if that is all we do. That is what is happening to this organization. Their "managers" are disconnecting with their people and the people are beginning to distrust them. The leader, however, focuses on people. The before mentioned systems, equipment, procedures, and goals are accomplished only through people. The leader works with the people first and then the systems second. This creates a trust and harmony among the team and excellence in the systems.

You see, people follow who the leader is before they follow what the leader does. It all begins with the heart. The heart of the leader creates success or failure. The heart of the leader creates followers or enemies.

Some people reading these words today may feel that I am being overly dramatic. Let me mention a few names to you. Hitler, Bin Laden, Judas. These names create negative emotions. Why? Because of who they were. How about these names: Washington, Reagan, Jesus Christ. For many, including me, these names create positive emotions. Why, because of who they were (who He is in the case of Jesus).

So, how do you become the type of leader that others want to follow? By developing yourself. The late Jim Rohn said, "Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average." Average leaders create nothing. Successful leaders create the world. Here are a few suggestions on how to develop your leadership qualities:

1. Read biographies of successful, character oriented leaders. Some examples would include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham, and John Wooden.

2. Attend motivational seminars/listen to audio programs.
Get around other successful leaders.

3. Get a mentor. It makes a difference.

4. Stay persistent. Don't give up just because you blow it.

The truth of the matter is that we all drop the ball. None of us is perfect. I encourage you to focus on your own personal development and growth. This is where your leadership needs to begin and end. When your leadership development is bookended with yourself, you will discover that much of the middle will take care of itself. Now, go make it a great day!

Author's Bio: 

Are you losing credibility & sales because of poor presentation skills? I help teams, like yours, learn how to give Extraordinary Presentations...and gain more clients!

Mark Bowser is an expert in the areas of Selling Success, Leadership, and Customer Service. He can help you and your team get where you are going. He can be reached at www.MarkBowser.com.

Mark Bowser's book "Three Pillars of Success" is now available in Amazon's Kindle ebook format. Check it out at http://www.amazon.com/Three-Pillars-of-Success-ebook/dp/B007BKQTG6/ref=s...