The control freak in us says, “If you want something done right do it yourself. You can do it faster than someone else. You can do it, you don’t need someone else. Be independent. You can’t trust people anyway. You can figure this out on your own.”

I hate that guy. He tries to lead me down the wrong path. My inner control freak tries to hold me back and he sounds good while he’s doing it. I have to smack him around from time to time and remind him of who’s boss. That’s the only way I’ve been able to achieve anything that I have achieved.

Life is built in the context of relationships. Good things rarely happen when the only person you’re with is yourself. The concept we have of independence today is all garbage.

Dictionary.com defines independence as freedom from the control, influence,support, aid, or the like, of others. Independence tells us that we don’t need others. We don’t need help or support. We need freedom. Independence is a lie.

Humans are designed for interdependence. Interdependence means mutually relying on one another. We’re all built with strengths and weaknesses. Becoming great means building on those strengths and having help compensating for the weaknesses. I believe that’s one reason why when we get married, we find out how different we really are afterward. Sometimes it causes conflict, but it’s necessary. In any relationship where two people are the same, one person is unnecessary. We have to build relationships to build interdependence.

In order to become a great leader, we must understand that there are a handful of things that have made some people become truly great leaders.

1. Develop a great leadership team.

As I said before, relationships are necessary. But not just any relationships will do. You must build a team. Your team must learn to be cohesive and build upon each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Everything. What leadership development plans or programs do you have in place to build your leadership team?

2. Develop a great workforce.

In order to grow, you must have good people working with you. Your workforce must be great. Everything rises and falls on leadership. As you’re building a great you, you can start building great people. The Law of Magnetism says you attract not what you want, but who you are. In order to grow a great workforce, you have to start by building a great you. You can’t expect to have employees who are constantly growing if you’re not growing yourself.

3. Create and utilize relationships.

Great leaders know how to leverage relationships. Leveraging relationships means creating win-win situations for the people you have relationships with. I recently met with a business owner who said he struggled to get referrals to his business. “When was the last time you gave a referral,” I asked. “I can’t remember,” he responded. If relationships are supposed to be give and take, that means you have to give before you can expect to take. Build your network by being a resource.

4. Share while learning.

As the old saying goes, the teacher is the best student. In 23 years of teaching leadership, business and finance to adults, I have always found that I am the one who learns the most. Students who tutor others, researchers have found, work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively. This works for anyone. What you teach to others gets locked down in your brain. What you learn, teach.

5. Desire to be great and do what’s necessary to make it happen.

Napoleon Hill said,“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” If you don’t have the drive for greatness, find it. Unless it is a burning desire in your mind and heart, you will never achieve greatness. But, hope is not a strategy. Desire without action is simply wishful thinking.

6. Surround yourself with successful people.

The Law of the Inner Circle says that we are defined by those closest to us. Our potential will be great or small based on the people we surround ourselves with. For years, I have watched people fall in with the “wrong crowd” and then wonder why they aren’t more successful or making more money. When we spend time with other great or successful people, we ourselves tend to rise to that level. Conversely, we also tend to sink to the level of people with low moral standards and no values.

7. Lead by example.

When leaders say one thing, but do another, they erode trust. Without trust, there can be no leadership and no possibility of greatness. By walking your talk, you become a person others want to follow. Walking in integrity is the only true path to greatness.

Only through others can anyone become truly great. What are you doing today to grow yourself and your team?

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