Many find the path to success by following those who have preceded them in a similar quest. Find those who have been successful at what you want to do and then do what they did. Stephen Covey in ‘the 7 habits’ would refer to this as, “beginning with the end in mind.” Visualizing the type of leader that you want to be and developing yourself into that type of leader.
This is applicable to many skills but can be more complex in the case of leadership.
There is no shortage of leadership resources out there, written by leadership role models, advising that we Lead Like (fill in the blank). Most of these books focus on actions or methods used by those leaders. These resources can be very valuable in envisioning the results you would like to achieve but are often contextually limited. The focus on leader actions also misses an important part of the leadership equation.
Leadership is a Relationship
Leadership is a relationship between leader and constituent. It is dependent on what uniquely motivates the constituent and how the leader fulfills that motivational need. It is too simple to believe that a specific leader action will elicit the same response from everyone. Leadership is a special relationship that is formed between leader and each constituent.
What to Do?
Begin with the end in mind. What qualities do people generally admire or demand in their leaders? Plan your work and work your plan to develop those qualities within yourself.
Understand that motivation is unique to the individual, dependent on their needs and situation. Motivation has also been the subject of study and useful information has been gleaned regarding the leaders ability to motivate based on the situation and relationship. Learn the practical application of motivational study.
Develop yourself into the type of leader that people want to follow and build the personal relationships that acknowledge the unique motivations of each of your constituents.