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My friend, David Foster, lives in Nashville. He draws some leadership lessons from the world of coaching and quarterbacking.

Here are David’s five signs you’re nowhere near ready for leadership:

1. You’re nowhere ready for leadership if you can’t stand the heat. Leaders are admired, followed, and paid well. But they are also criticized, put upon, and cut down relentlessly. A true leader understands this and stands up under the heat of leadership.

2. You’re nowhere ready for leadership if at the first sign of controversy you play the victim. You know, the person who always uses the why, who, and when questions: Why is this happening? Who’s to blame? When are they going to fix it? That is the language of victims. By definition, victims can’t be leaders. But oh, don’t we have so many filling leadership positions.

3. You’re nowhere ready for leadership if you don’t have a core passion for some important, world-changing mission that you’re willing to sacrifice your comfort and even your well-being for. Having watched Coach Fisher the many years he has been here in Nashville, I admire his work ethic. I’ve found this to be true in other people I know like Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Randall Wallace, and those who truly achieve greatness. They are willing to pour everything they have into a passionate mission, a big idea that can truly end up changing the world.

4. You’re nowhere ready for leadership if your primary motivator is money. Yeah, it is true that by and large leaders get paid more than followers. But I don’t know one significant leader who does it for the money. What I’ve found is, when you find something you’re passionate about that matters and do it with excellence, the money always seems to follow.

5. You’re nowhere ready for leadership if you’re not a reader. I heard someone say many years ago that leaders are readers. Why is this important? It’s important because of one truth you can’t deny. And that is, speed a leader; speed a team. Or said another way, a leader has to be not just out front, but out front just enough, informed by what he’s learning – insights and principles – that will allow the team, the organization, the company, to move forward to a successful effort. I’ve heard men and women proudly proclaim, “I haven’t read a book in years.” The sad truth is, they didn’t have to say it. Everyone around them knew it.


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