maze with street above going straight instead of following maze like a 'follower'Leadership is the ability to not only understand and utilize your innate talents, but to also effectively leverage the natural strengths of your team to accomplish the mission. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, answer key or formula to leadership. Leadership should be the humble, authentic expression of your unique personality in pursuit of bettering whatever environment you are in. – Katie Christy, founder, Activate Your Talent

A parable is told about a pencil-maker who was preparing to put an important pencil in a box. Before doing so, though, he took the pencil aside. “There are five things you need to know,” he said. “If you can remember these five things, you will become the best pencil you can be.”

You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to in someone else’s hand.

  1. Sharpening is painful, but it is critical if you want to write sharply.
  2. Since you have an eraser, you can correct most mistakes you make, though some may be harder to erase than others.
  3. Remember, it’s what’s inside that’s most important.
  4. Whatever surface you on, make sure you leave your mark. No matter how hard, rough, or easy, you must continue to write.

This parable shares powerful lessons for every leader:

  1. Be humble. You can achieve greatness, but not when you go it alone. Allow yourself to be taught and coached by others and identify the strengths of those around you to help advance the cause.
  2. Stay sharp. Strong leaders find ways to keep learning and sharpening their skills. Feedback can be painful at times, but without it, you will become dull.
  3. Accept mistakes. We all err. Though mistakes may make for challenging moments, they are ultimately part of a process of becoming a better leader. Embrace your mistakes as opportunities to learn, erase, and become better! As John Maxwell once said, “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”
  4. Your best is what’s inside you. You may be good-looking, dress well, and have a great personality. But what makes you who you are and the person with whom others want to connect is your character. Seek to continually grow and refine your character so that you can lead and serve with utmost integrity.
  5. Stick with it. There will be times when you think that you’re making no imprint and that your actions are not having an effect. But people will still depend on you, so you need to keep on going. Hold to your vision and your dreams, even when it seems they have dimmed.

I have attempted to offer guidance to you, the new leader, as you assume your leadership position. By now, one thing should be clear: Leadership is not easy. It takes much effort to position yourself to achieve a leadership post, and perhaps, even more, work to build a sustainable leadership platform.

But it is doable. And the world needs you.

Continue reading in Smart Brief

Originally written by Naphtali Hoff in Smart Brief


This post is adapted from “Becoming the New Boss,” a new leadership book by Naphtali Hoff, PsyD,(@impactfulcoach). He became an executive coach and organizational consultant following a career as an educator and school administrator. Read his blog at impactfulcoaching.com/blog.