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Are you a TOP Leader?

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our My Story Millennial Campaign contest series where we’re featuring the best of the millennial voices. Be sure to keep track of the series HERE.

Working through a series of jobs with varying roles in leadership and in the midst the worst economic recession since the depression, I have had the opportunity to view life and work through different lenses. Even as a true millennial I have experienced the good, the bad, and the great examples in leadership. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t get anywhere leading people without trust, optimism and perspective. These are, “TOP Leaders”.

Trust

My dad was extremely influential in my leadership development. He would teach me about the difference between punishment and discipline, and how there are consequences to all things, whether those consequences are good or bad. He gave an illustration of trust as a pane of glass between two parties. With each break in trust there would appear a crack in the pane. As another break would occur there would also appear another crack. Eventually making it difficult to see the other party. As a leader, you must lead with integrity. So that others may be able to see your unwavering morals and professional values.

This lesson has never failed me on my career journey. I’m proud to have always been respected for not neglecting my values for personal gain, which is sometimes a surprise when working with industrial age leaders. People who will preach how “it’s a dog-eat-dog jungle out there”, or how “people can get pretty territorial”, or especially about how “everyone’s out for themselves, you should be too.”

Optimism

Despite the adversities of an industrial age leader’s point-of-view, my dad would be a foundation of encouragement. Reminding me that it’s important to remain optimistic during hard times. Sometimes brushing it off with a little light humor, but holding steadfast and focused on the prize. It’s much like the Lion King when Rafiki tells Simba, “Yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” As a TOP Leader, it doesn’t just stop at being optimistic. TOP Leaders exemplify perseverance, resilience, and have an abundance of zeal in the midst of adversity.

As a TOP Leader, it doesn’t just stop at being optimistic. TOP Leaders exemplify perseverance, resilience, and have an abundance of zeal in the midst of adversity.

Perspective

After high school, I was blessed with an incredible opportunity to see the world through a plethora of interpretations. I began to understand that life is all about perspective, and our willingness to be open-minded about another’s perspective. TOP Leaders have an incredible ability to inspire everyone to see their perspective, and strive to attain that vision. Simon Sinek, an influential leader, is quoted, “One of the best paradoxes of leadership is that leader’s need to be both stubborn and open-minded. A leader must insist on sticking to the vision and stay on course to the destination. But they must be open-minded during the process.” Perspective is what brings hope to attain the goals set forth.

One of the best paradoxes of leadership is that leader’s need to be both stubborn and open-minded. A leader must insist on sticking to the vision and stay on course to the destination. But they must be open-minded during the process.

None of this can be done without selfless sacrifice. Doing the grunt work in order to build trust, and showing others you view yourself as an equal, not better. Pushing yourself to your utmost limit so that others may benefit. Setting aside your own perspective so that you may see a larger picture with the help of another’s perspective. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said, “Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” This is greatness. This is success. This is the heart of leadership in my millennial perspective.

We should all want to be great, and we need to see the people next to us as having that same perspective. Trust them. Work together. Learn together. Teach each other. Lead others. This is the Human Side of Business.

 

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Copyright: michaeldb / 123RF Stock Photo

Alex Gaskins is a leadership and marketing consultant for small businesses. As a young entrepreneur he uses his experiences managing business, and education in organizational leadership, to increase awareness and sales through building authentic relationships. You can often find him collaborating on Twitter at @AlexGaskins or blogging on his site (alexgaskins.me).

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