Growing up, did you ever notice how life seems a lot easier for people who have slightly above average score in good looks? Oh yes, I can almost hear you say, “Yes, of course!” from here. Okay, I won’t argue if you claim to be one of these people. I can deeply relate as well (haha!)
Seriously though, and quite sadly, in reality, people usually like people who look pleasing to their eyes. Pretty girls – and even guys – get offered seats in a bus, allowed to go ahead in queues and are received a lot warmly in front desks. But external looks can only last for so long. First impressions don’t always last and by now I guess you realize this, too. Is there really other ways that can make you win people’s hearts besides good looks?
Fortunately for you and for me, we need not constantly rely on our God-given beauty to win people’s hearts. There are time-proven traits we can actually acquire that will enable us to have that profound influence on others.
But just how important is it for you to be able to influence others? I asked myself the same question a few years ago, when the ability to convince other people to look at things from my perspective did not matter much. I was fresh out of college and did not hold a very important position in the company I worked for. In fact I was merely an employee. Neither did I have any leadership role to play in the community.
Until I got married and had kids. This was when I had this epiphany moment and realized how the ability to influence people can come in very handy even if you are leader only of your own household. On the contrary, being an effective leader in one’s own household is I think more important than anything else. Charity begins at home, after all. How can we effectively lead other people when we can’t even lead our own families?
Regardless of our title, or the number of letters we have after our names, we can all become great leaders at home and in society and when we have these eight traits that highly effective leaders possess there is no doubt we can be successful leaders too. I learned this during the Integrity Management Program of the Philippine Government for employees of the Department of Education all over the Philippines.
No. 1 Starts with the Letter “C” or Concern for Others. Chaplain James Canamo of Jesus for All Nations, our speaker for that day, emphasized the importance of showing genuine concern for other people’s wellbeing. When people see and feel that we care for them, they find it easy to open their hearts and mind to whatever it is we have to say.
Notice the difference in the following sentences.
“Eat your breakfast,” and
“Eat your breakfast because it will provide you with much needed energy so you can play all day.” (Said with much enthusiasm).
Which do you think would be more effective in convincing your child to eat breakfast?
No. 2 Starts with the Letter “H” or Help. It is the ability to reach out to others. Simply saying we care is not enough. We need to show people and not just tell them. Reaching out means going the extra mile and the simplest act of bringing food to the new neighbour to welcome them to the community says a lot about you.
No. 3 Starts with the Letter “A” or Action. It is the ability to make things happen. Even the homeliest house wife has dreams and aspirations for her family, but her family will only be blessed by these dreams when she is able to make them manifest into physical form. Our children are smart creatures but they are not very good at hearing the words we say; only the things we do. The things we make happen.
No. 4 Starts with the Letter “R” or Results. Our ability to produce results, whether we realize it or not, can profoundly inspire productivity in others as well. Community-based programs can only happen when people work hand in hand toward the accomplishment of goals. A feeding program for young school children, for example, are usually led not by CEOs of great companies but by housewives who collaboratively work together and usually in a community there will always be one or two who consistently show great results. The next time there is a program, who do you think people will go to for help? The expert at producing great results, of course, and expertise easily translate to authority.
No. 5 Starts with the Letter “I” or Influence. The ability to lead. Consistent action and the ability to produce great results easily allow us to make a mark in people’s lives. They remember us when they need a good leader to help them organize an event or start a new project. This gives us the chance to lead and leaders naturally are in a position to influence people and events.
No. 6 Starts with the Letter “S” or Sensitivity. This is the ability to feel in other people’s shoes and respond appropriately. Sensitivity to other people’s needs allows us to be able to choose the appropriate response. We can deeply feel the struggles of a colleague buried in debt and lending her money so she can pay off those debts will be very helpful, but she will thank us for a lifetime if we support and promote a comprehensive financial literacy program that will educate everyone in the company about their finances.
Similarly, children at home lend their ears more easily to a parent who spends quality time listening to what they have to say than to one who is seldom available to them.
No. 7 Starts with the Letter “M” or Motivation. It is the ability to inspire and motivate others. People in this age face twice the number of challenges compared to people in the 20th century and without the right support system it is very easy to give up. Imagine being able to inspire somebody to move past an obstacle so that one day this person will come to you and say, “I’m so happy to have met you. Because of you, I did not give up.”
Ever recall a moment in your life when you have enjoyed excellent customer service? I bet for a while you never stopped telling your friends about that restaurant or shop that treated you well and made you feel very important. The same thing happens when we are able to effectively help another person get past an ordeal. They will tell other people about us and before we know it people will come knocking on our doors for help.
No. 8 Starts with the Letter “A” or Affirmation. It is the ability to build up another person. In this age of social media, we can never underestimate the power of a seemingly innocent TV commercial or a Facebook Ad to influence our concept of what’s beautiful, what’s popular, what’s cool and what’s acceptable. A lot of young people and even adults unconsciously experience self-esteem malnutrition, and if you are a parent like me, children with very low self-esteem tend to accomplish less in life compared to those who have higher confidence in themselves and their ability to make things happen.
Have you met a person who, by simply being next to him or her, makes you feel good about yourself? You tend to choose to hang around with this person than to this colleague who talks about nothing else but negativity, the rotten system, the incompetence of government leaders, the weather, etc.
I believe you have and these are the persons who have the ability to lead their families, their organizations and their community. Without a doubt you can be this person too, even it means leading your family of two kids, a spouse and a dog. Yes. The fact that you have read this far means you have what it takes to be a leader. You seek results and you have come this far in search of ways to make results.
If you notice, all eight traits’ beginning letters spell the word C-H-A-R-I-S-M-A and charisma is that word that summarizes all traits. Chaplain James, in his lecture, defined charisma as the ability to draw people to you and make them see things from your perspective. The keyword here is ability, and as such, it can be learned. This means you don’t have to be born a leader. Leaders are not born; they are made.
If you want to win people’s minds, you have to find ways that can make you win people’s hearts first, and there certainly are better ways besides good looks.
You and I have the same potential of becoming as effective a leader as Mahatma Gandhi. We only need to find the best environment to nurture this potential for it to manifest in reality.
I’d love to hear from you! You are most welcome to share your thoughts by leaving a message in the comments section below. If you wish to receive valuable information and regular snippets of inspiration to cheer you on in your everyday journey, you can subscribe to our mailing list anytime but you are also free to visit the site without doing so as well. Have a wonderful life!