As I continue to write about leadership and utilizing John Maxwell’s book as a guideline, please think about the quote to follow from Martin Luther King, Jr. While reading the quote, you need to ask yourself are you worthy, are you a leader or not, and will you succeed as a leader. It takes hard work for everything.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Street sweeper or CEO, we all are leaders and have leadership qualities. It is up to us to choose who we want to be. What are you choosing?

Leaders should expect hostility towards them, they should live with integrity, and they should trust in a higher power. (God’s sovereignty). Many poor leaders give good leaders a bad name. Be a leader that people appreciate, follow, and believe in.

Life and leadership take quite a bit of Faith in who you are, what you stand for and what you believe. Where you place your Hope is also paramount.

Good leaders never embrace a victim mentality. Who you are and what you are responsible for should be recognized by a good leader. That responsibility cannot and should not be placed on others. In all circumstances you should take that approach and not play the blame game.

Leaders inspire those that hang out with them.

Leaders develop other leaders. How are you doing?

Leaders rise above personal preferences for the sake of the team.

Time is the most precious commodity for many people. In our hustle and bustle world, leaders need to know what is truly important and what is not. When we take on new activities, do we cut back on other activities so that we can stay true to ourselves and those who need our help, support and guidance. What are your true priorities and when it is time for change or adding that next activity, what do you do to prepare?

How do you view circumstances? Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full leader? I have learned more from my mistakes, from my least desirable bosses and co-workers than I have from my successes. What is your experience in this realm? How do you look at errors, mistakes, challenges, less than ideal situations? Washington Irving said, “Great minds have purposes; others have wishes. Little minds are subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.”

I was told years ago that “Leaders are Readers” (thank you Steve Craney). I have accepted that challenge and strive to be a reader as much as I can, even in a busy hectic world. Good leaders learn in the trenches. Good leaders start learning about leadership before they ever get a leadership position. Be a leader but start by learning.

As a leader, do you empower those that are under your tutelage? Do you give them the opportunity to make decisions, to succeed and maybe more importantly, fail – fail not in a big way but in a learning way?

Hope is one of the most powerful and energizing words. It gives us power to keep going in the toughest of times. Where do you place your hope? Be the bringer of hope to those around you!

Goals – do you set goals? No one accomplishes anything significant without setting goals. And goals lead to success.

Leaders take responsibility of their teams’ shortcomings and failures. Use these situations to build the team up. Use it as a learning experience to help stave off any further or future issues.

Leaders are visionaries. Yogi Berra joked, “if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” Get your vision stated and your team aligned to follow the vision and achieve successful results.

Are you open to other people’s opinions or is your way always, right? Even though you might feel your way or opinion is the only way, it is best to hear others out and their thoughts. You might not agree with them, but you will create a more positive relationship and probably someone who becomes a friend, just because you listened and discussed.

Leadership is understanding that it is a team effort, not an individual endeavor. A team is always stronger than an individual. Build your team up!

Leaders are models for their behaviors. If you have a negative attitude, guess how the people that follow you will likely react to situations. A positive attitude will likewise drive positive attitudes and results. Remember that people look up to you and ultimately, they will emulate you.

Leaders are always learning, always growing, and are always acknowledging that they need improvement in what they do.

Do you believe in yourself? If you do not, how do you expect to succeed or to lead? Build your self-image by learning to like and respect yourself.

High achievement is not derived from natural talent, it is derived from drive, determination, and desire. Great leaders understand the desires of the people they lead. Leaders respect the knowledge and ability of those they lead, but genuine interest in their wellbeing, their needs, their desires, and their dreams is what really sets leaders apart. As leaders we need to understand what motivates those that we lead. Seek to understand that.