LET MARKETING GOD SETH GODIN TEACH YOU HOW TO BE A LEADER
There are two kinds of people in this world: Leaders and Followers. Most people belong to the latter category while only a small percentage belong to the first. What kind of person are you?
NOTE: Many of the ideas presented in this article come from the book ‘Tribes’ by Seth Godin.
If you have not heard of Seth Godin, he is a multi-millionaire marketer and author and has founded the popular web 2.0 site called Squidoo (a site where users can create free pages to promote their knowledge). I really enjoyed the book and recommend that you get hold of a copy as soon as you have the chance.
The Real Reason Why Most People Don’t Lead
The main reason why most people only follow and choose not to lead is because they are scared. Scared of many things, but not scared of living a life of mediocrity. People would rather live a safe life in the shadows than make the leap for living the life of their dreams but risking failure.
It takes courage and confidence to step up and take the lead. A leader takes risks of being criticised. He takes responsibility for his decisions and ultimately he is responsible for the well-being of his followers. Most people do not want to lead for fear of this criticism and having the responsibility to make decisions. It is much easier to just follow someone and if you end up making a mistake, just blame it on the leader.
Why do you think so many millions of people around the world are happy to work a 9-5 job? So happy that in fact they will defend their job and the principle of the 9-5 job if you threaten to take it away from them. The answer is that they want the security. They want to be told what to do and have no responsibility for making their own decisions. It is too risky to lead, to venture into the unknown, to dance with the possibility of failure.
A Leader And His Tribe
The concept of a tribe goes way back to the days or early man. We had to create groups in order to increase our chances of survival in the wild. A tribe would offer protection and security, a better chance for food and a good social environment for friends and partners.
In a tribe there is always one leader. Traditionally the leader is always an alpha male type; confident, courageous and someone who does not back down in the face of a challenge. The leader is someone that the members of the tribe choose to follow, and they are happy to let him make decisions for the greater good of the tribe and all its members.
Tribes start out as very small groups and can grow very large or remain rather small. It has been suggested in studies that a person can only have relationships with about 150 people. Anything over that number and the bonds between each other become weak. That is why in the old days, tribes usually split after they became greater than 150 people and some members went off to form their own tribe.
Leaders give hope, something to believe in. Leaders have a vision and an idea. People like that and that is exactly why they find someone to follow. You create a tribe by leading. This attracts people who want to follow you. People who are forced to follow you are not really your followers and might even detest you.
How To Become A leader
People are waiting for someone to lead them. Not just for someone, for YOU.
They are waiting for you to step up and speak up. They want you to take your ideas and your vision and not be afraid of making it a reality. People will believe in you, follow you and support you, if you let them. But you need to lead, you need to have courage and confidence, and you need to have absolute faith in yourself as a leader. Even when things are difficult and you do not have all the answers, you need to trust in your own abilities and makes decisions. People cannot follow someone who is indecisive,scared and who lacks confidence. Here are some of the most important qualities that a leader needs to have:
Leaders are curious
They do not settle and they do not accept the stauts quo. Leaders are always interested in learning and discovering, they will not hesitate to try new things and explore unknown territory. They are not arrogant to say that they know everything, but they will go out and investigate something if it could possibly be true.
Leaders Take Initiative
Leaders do not wait for people to tell them what to do. They take initiative. Change is not brought about by asking for permission. Change is made by doing, by taking action. A leader takes the lead and is the first to start something.
Leaders Go First
Picture the leader of an army in medieval times. He is the one on the horse in front of the whole army, leading them to battle. With any sort of tribe, the leader is usually first. This creates the confidence that people need to follow him.
Leaders Are Generous
Good leaders are ones that give to their followers. They provide value and opportunity for their followers to improve their lives in some way. It is clear that many times, leaders (CEO’s, business owners, innovaters) become very wealthy and accquire a lot of power because of their leadership. However, often leaders don’t lead for personal gain, they lead because they enjoy the process of it and they hate being told what to do by others.
A Leader Is Wise
Sometimes a leader allows his followers to lead. By backing off and not constantly controlling the followers, the leader gives them a chance to become involved and take initiative. This does not mean that the followers need to become the leaders, but they bond with one another and start working together towards a common goal. This really strengthens the tribe. Sometimes the best way to lead is to give the followers the opportunity and ability to communicate with one another without directly telling them what to do. It gives the tribe freedom.
How To Create A Movement
A movement is an unstoppable group of people who are working together towards a common goal. Whether it be to change the government, to fight crime, to stop hunger or whatever else you can think of. Movements make history.
A movement is not created by telling people what to do, it is created when an idea is presented that everyone talks about, shares and wants to be a part of. Leaders create movements by creating the ability for members of the tribe to communicate with one another.
The internet has made creating a movement much easier.
I mentioned earlier that in our primitive days, tribes were rather small and they were local. With the internet, it is possible for one person to create a tribe of millions of members from all around the world. This can be done through newsletters, blogs, websites or videos.
Comments and forums are one way of allowing the tribe members to contribute and to communicate with each other. There are of course plenty of other (traditional) methods of creating a tribe or following, but in today’s age, the internet is a very helpful tool in making it happen. One single person (YOU) has the power to change almost anything.
A Helpful Hint Regarding Tribes
Rather focus on strengthening a small tribe instead of expanding a weak one. You can equate this to the principle of quality over quantity.
You can strive to get thousands or millions of people to join your tribe (this could be readers of your blog, owners of your product, people who wear your clothes etc) who will do this once-off or who are not incredibly fond of your product. These kind of people say “meh, it’s not too bad”.
Or… you can strive to have a small group of people in your tribe and focus on making your tribe incredibly strong. This will result in each and every one of your followers to support you like crazy, to buy your products for the rest of their lives, to talk about your vision, to convince their friends about your awesome product and to knock the guy out who talks bad about you. Which kind of tribe would you rather have?
A really good example of the benefit of a small but strong tribe over a large but weak tribe is the story of Spartah (portrayed in the movie ’300′). The Spartan army of 300 men (who had an incredibly strong tribe) managed to hold off the Persian army (over 1 million men but part of a weak tribe with little motivation) for three days. The Persian army got so demorazlied by being held up for so long by just 300 men, that soon afterwards the entire Persian army broke down and was defeated. Unfortunately, all 300 men were killed in their efforts of stopping the Persian army.
The main idea that I want you to take home with you after reading this post is that YOU have everything you need to be a leader. You can build your own tribe and there are thousands of people who are willing to follow you and be loyal to you.
Do not be scared of humiliation, criticism or even failure. Step up and share your ideas with the world, make it a better place. Change what you don’t like. Lead.