To Lead or Not to Lead

"To be, or not to be..." is the opening phrase of a soliloquy of William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Hamlet is contemplating to live or to die. It seems that when it comes to leadership the central question is, "To lead or not to lead?"

Illustration by Beggarstaff Brothers/MCAD Library on Flickr.

Illustration by Beggarstaff Brothers/MCAD Library on Flickr.

If you decide to lead, here are 7 things to be:

1. Be authentic.

Learn from others but be yourself. It's easier to be yourself; you do not have to think about how to be.

Be yourself—everyone else is already taken.

2. Be prepared.

You can't be prepared for everything but there are plenty of things to be prepared for. Like the old adage reminds us: Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

3. Be human.

Although some things require cold calculations and strategy, it does not mean you should not be human.

4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

By definition, leaders and managers find themselves in uncomfortable situations. The more comfortable you are being uncomfortable, the more challenges you can handle.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

5. Be adaptable.

Since change is the only constant, your ability to adapt is essential to leadership.

6. Be observant.

The skill of observation is a lost art because of the fast pace of life. As a leader, take time to work on this very important skill. You can learn a lot by observing.

7. Be a listener.

Take the time to listen to your team and those around you.

What do you think you need to be a great leader?