How To Lead: Define Reality, Give Hope, Gain Followers, Execute

When we engage as professionals, we engage as leaders. Leaders gain followers by playing their part well, and lose followers when they fail. Napoleon said it simply, “The role of the leader is to define reality and give hope.” This is what we do to create value: define reality, give hope, gain followers, and execute.

Our job starts with a realistic take of what our customers (and therefore “we”) are experiencing. It includes facts. It includes history. It includes sentiment.

Our value starts with describing a desirable path forward. It usually should be realistic. It doesn’t have to be easy to achieve. It doesn’t have to answer every question. It does have to address and harness the prevailing sentiment and offer some form of action.

We become leaders when people are willing to follow us towards hope. Our ability to define reality and describe hope matter. A lot. Followers follow a message they can understand. Good communication is critical.

Our value ends with execution. If we move people from reality to hope to a new reality, we have lead them successfully. And that doesn’t mean the work is over. There’s either another step to take or another group to lead on a similar journey.

Reality is where the questions or problems exist. Hope is the proposing of a solution. We become leaders when people understand our message and choose to follow us. We realize our value by executing a process that advances our causes, and when possible, realizes our hopes. Thanks Napoleon.

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