We are all born with the potential to be heroic. Part of what defines heroism is the desire to support the individuals around us. There is a natural instinct in us to cooperate with other people in order to ensure mutual protection and survival. Whether this stems from a purely selfish gene or not, the fact remains there is some internal motivation toward heroism in all of us.
But this potential can remain passive and untapped if we don’t train ourselves to let it out. This is why heroes must also be “made.” We must consciously train ourselves to let the heroic instinct rise to the surface in our beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors.
Because of their consciously cultivated willingness to become active rather than stay passive, many heroes naturally become leaders. Now, I’m not going to tell you that famous business magnates like Elon Musk or Richard Branson are heroes, but they are examples of successful leadership. And since leadership and heroism share certain aspects, there is some overlap.
Some people seem to be natural leaders. They appear, from an early age, to be more willing to take charge of situations. But that natural talent can “wither on the vine” if not nurtured. You must hone the skills necessary to be a leader in your career. There are three traits of leadership, and by extension heroism, that you can consciously work to develop.
Learn to be Okay with Delegation
As a leader, it’s crucial that you know how to delegate different tasks and feel comfortable doing it. If you can’t delegate then the weight of responsibility will feel like a massive weight crushing you. It also will ensure that you don’t find the most efficient solutions for problems. As such, you need to make sure you are looking at things carefully and that you do know how to pass on jobs to other people. Of course, delegation isn’t simply about passing jobs on but finding the right balance between a leading role and helping others improve in their own duties. It’s also about choosing the right people for the job.
Learn to Build Up Your Team
As a leader, you will have a team behind you. This will be true whether you are in an office or on a sports field. Groups look to a leader for more than just orders and direction. Your people will also look to you for inspiration and motivation. You need to be the original source of passion and confidence in your cause.
You need to make sure each individual feels they are part of the team and connected to the cause. It’s crucial that everyone is on the same page, working towards shared goals. In the business environment, X-Gap meetings are one of the ways to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal, moving in the same direction to achieve success.
This doesn’t mean everyone should move in lockstep and engage in groupthink. But a true leader knows how to simultaneously encourage diversity of ideas while still maintaining team coherence.
Know When to Take Risks and When to Play it Safe
Finally, a leader must understand when to run for the end zone and when to execute a more conservative play. It’s another tricky balancing act, and often it’s a case of trial and error. However, truly great leaders will take the time to look at many different factors and variables, and see as much of the big picture as possible before making a decision.
When risks are taken, they are not frivolous. They are calculated. They are taken after careful consideration and planning, contrary to popular belief. The risk comes from the stakes involved, not the action taken.
Heroism and leadership can go hand-in-hand. Both can help in the business world as well as in your personal life. Just remember, as Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, with great power comes great responsibility. Leaders, and heroes, are often the object of the admiration of others. Be sure to honor that admiration by treating others with respect. That is the mark of a true leader and hero.
Previously published on livethehero.com.
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