How to Establish Yourself as a Leader

By | January 3, 2020

[January 3, 2020]  Leadership is about people.  If you are on board with this idea, then you are on your way to achieving good leader qualities.  When you begin as a new leader, everything you do and say is an audition for how people see you.  Are you a leader that is authentic or are you just faking it?

There are a few defining characteristics of leadership that will help you excel.  Philosophers have said that good leadership is the same at all levels.  While that is true in much of what we do, there is a difference between junior and senior leadership.  For this article, the characteristics discussed here are more about senior leaders.

  1. Don’t succeed 100% of the time. Be humble.  Let those who don’t know you see how you perform when things don’t go well.  Failure is an opportunity to begin again.  The people who see you or hear about you will gain an appreciation of your handling of difficult tasks regardless of whether you succeed each time or not.
  2. Ask for help. No one can lead by themselves.  Know when to ask for some help.  You will gain more respect and credibility by asking for help when you need it.  Also, never hide the fact that you got help.1  Own it.  You’ll be showing maturity and the ability to be a team player.
  3. Immediately adopt responsibility. People appreciate the fact that someone jumps in and takes charge; they are also grateful for those who unhesitatingly and bravely put the burden of responsibility on their shoulders.  Such a leader will appear strong, fearless, open, and reliable.  And, give credit for those on your team.
  4. Tell the truth, always. No matter how tempting, no matter if you believe someone is not watching, always tell the truth.  There is nothing worse than being as someone who shades the truth.  So, always be brutally honest.  Diplomacy is helpful but it doesn’t make a leader.
  5. Be a skilled listener. While being a great communicator is imperative for exceptional leadership, your ability to listen is more important.  Listening allows you to evaluate the situation and put yourself in the shoes of someone else.  It works every time.
  6. Deliver solutions. Leaders don’t have to be experts in everything, but they do have to possess the ability to get things done.  This ability means they are teachers, mentors, and coaches, not “bosses.”  A good leader is one who shares their knowledge, remains flexible, tolerant, is knowledgeable, and rallies people to accomplish the mission.

Senior leaders spend time focusing on their ability to influence others.  Practicing and perfecting their skills is foremost in their minds.  Leadership doesn’t mean sitting; still, it means improving as a leader or failing as a boss.  Knowing how to apply these qualities to your job will help you exceed people’s expectations and be a worthy leader.


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “How to Establish Yourself as a Leader

  1. Tracey Brockman

    “Immediately adopt responsibility.” Pow, right about this one. I love this leadership website so please keep it going. Too many leadership internet sites are boring. Gen Satterfield is entertaining and educational. Thanks also to all those who comment on this forum.

  2. Kenny Foster

    Really good list of qualities of a real leader. Too bad that so many politicians seem to think they are exempt from these rules.

    1. Mikka Solarno

      Thank you Gen. Satterfield. Great article today and appreciate you referencing the long-overdue killing of an evil man. Iran supported evil, now they will pay a price. Not standing up to evil is a problem today because too many leaders lack the courage to do anything about it.

    2. Drew Dill

      Here is Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s public statement on this.
      “The end of Qasem Soleimani is welcome and long-overdue justice for the thousands of Americans killed or wounded by his Iranian-controlled forces across the Middle East, and for the hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Iraqi Sunnis ethnically cleansed by his militias. It is also long-overdue justice for our Israeli allies who have suffered decades of terrorism at the hands of Hezbollah terrorists commanded by his IRGC Quds Force. The message to all those who mean harm to America is loud and clear.”

      1. Greg Heyman

        Terrorist general with the blood of THOUSANDS on his hands: Qassem Soleimani masterminded the killing of hundreds of US troops in IED attacks, helped Assad slaughter his people in Syria, was an ally of Hezbollah and ‘more powerful than Iran’s president’

        1. Watson Bell

          When evil is allowed to grow and encouraged (like when US Pres Obama sent billions in cash to Iran), the there comes a time when good men must stand up and destroy the evil.

  3. Valkerie

    General Satterfield, you’ve given us a really good list. There are more, of course, but showing that we “care” about others by being in the mud, the blood, and the beer with them, shows that we care. People need to see a regular reminder that their leaders are in the mix with them and not standing on the side letting the little people take all the risks.

    1. JT Patterson

      Well said, Valkerie. Gen. Satterfield certainly knows how to push the idea that leaders MUST be authentic else they are losers.

  4. Yusaf from Texas

    Don’t mess with Texas, oops, I mean don’t mess with the USA. Iran must have not gotten the message.

  5. Jerome Smith

    “Be humble,” that is a good start. Don’t set yourself up as some kind of god for people to bow down to. Let them know you have weaknesses too but not fatal flaws. I was always a slow runner but could bench press over 200 lbs. Folks saw me as strong and looked to me to help with tough jobs at work and in the local community. Strength comes in many forms. Hey everyone, have a great new year.

    1. Deplorable John

      You got that right. Being humble shows you are not ‘better than the next guy.’ Thinking you are some kind of superior human sets you up for a greater fall.

  6. Tom Bushmaster

    Well, being strong and tough is another way. Just look at what US Pres Trump did to Iran when he had the military take out one of the most prolific terrorists (state sponsored by Iran) in the world. Eh?

    1. old warrior

      Kicking butt and taking names. That’s what America does under a strong, well-established president. Go for it Iran and try something else. You never know when you’ll get a missile up your butt with USA written on it.

      1. Jane Fillmore

        You are the best ‘old warrior.’ I like your style and yes I agree that the best thing for anyone to do is not mess with the good ole US of A.

    2. Willie Shrumburger

      There you go again, Tom, making sense. Maybe we should send a few of our college snowflakes over to Iran for a real education on what socialism is really about. Ha Ha Ha


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