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Do you even lead?

I’m sat on a train once and an American gentleman just walked in, sits next to a random guy and starts complimenting his “very English socks”. From this, he creates a two hour conversation with everyone in the immediate vicinity (myself included). I do not suggest that you talk to random people  when on public transport (no really don’t! Don’t even think about doing it on the tube.) However, having the confidence to do so is one of the signs of a leader. Are you a leader? It’s very different to being a boss, but easily confused. The way I see it, a leader runs in the forefront, never asking you to do something that they could not possibly do and that is why you follow. A boss sits behind a desk and tells you what to do or else. So can you develop leadership skills? Yes! Is this the last rhetorical question? No! But there’s only one more, I promise. The number one skill a leader has is public speaking. Yes, you probably struggle with it, but here’s the secret that turned me into a competent speaker. In Ancient Greece and Rome “Rhetoric” (or public speaking to you or I) was an essential part of a child’s education, nowadays it’s highly neglected. This means you really don’t have to be very talented to come across as an excellent orator (reading my articles upon the topic helps). Just keep your speech confident, yet not complicated and you’ll be fine, remember KISS, or Keep It Simple Stupid.

This handsome fellow wrote the book on public speaking, his name is Cicero and he was awesome/ into statues of himself. Photo from Wikipedia

This handsome fellow wrote the book on public speaking, his name is Cicero and he was awesome/ into statues of himself. Photo from Wikipedia

Speaking is only one facet of leadership, you also need to know how to listen. This is probably the part I struggle with most (Ed: he definitely does, I’ve seen him talk the hind legs off a donkey). If you make an effort to talk with the quiet people in a group and listen to them, they become so much more comfortable with the idea of you being in charge. Not only that, but you can’t talk and think at the same time, the quieter someone is, the more thinking time they have. All the shy readers are clapping (very politely) at this point, trust me I know what’s it’s like to be shy. One of my best friends only spoke to about five people throughout high school, but he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. Then there is politeness. Yes you read that right, no I’m not going crazy! You, reader, should obviously pay special attention to this part. This is easily one of the most neglected values of today (God I sound like my Nan). You want to lead a group, not dominate it. By ensuring you are polite and thoughtful at all times, people won’t resent you being in charge. Besides if you have to debate within the team, it’s extremely likely you’ll put your foot in your mouth at least once- every ten minutes. By being polite, respected and most importantly, liked within the group these moments will be generally less cringe worthy. My most recent was referring to British Airways as a technology company, which my team mates actually called a “Cale fail”.

Caesar, creator of the first meme. Photo from Wikipedia.

Caesar, creator of the first meme. Photo from Wikipedia.

One of the first things an ancient up and coming orator was taught was the rule of threes. For example “Veni, Vedi, Veci”, “location, location, location” or, obviously your favourite, “Speaking, Listening, Politeness”. But here at FYM we like to give you more bang for your buck (Ed: I’ve warned you about cliches before), sorry, more whizz for your wonga. So find point number four below and think of it as an early Christmas present, Santa will get you that Xbox One you’re after, just not today. The fourth point is passion. All of my previous points have developed you as a leader, assuming you’ve acted upon them of course. If you don’t find a reason to lead though, it’s of no use. My personal reason is that someone has to do it so that someone may as well be me. Whenever there is someone in the group who has a genuine passion for the subject, I immediately let (or sometimes make) them lead. The shyest person, unjustly punched on the nose, becomes an eloquent and loquacious speaker. Much the same applies to the subjects a person loves, they may need some prodding, but they will find their voice and some leadership skills. Unfortunately dear reader, I need to go, to lead, to persuade… my flatmate to make me a cup of tea. Remember, “DO YOU EVEN LEAD?”.

Cale Harrison (4 Posts)

Hi I'm Cale. I have a smorgasbord of interests, from early American history to HvZ (google it and prepare to be mindblown!). From reading up on obscure capitalists to running marathons (well not yet- I'm still only at the 10k run stage).