Some people are natural born leaders while others may have to work hard to excel in a leadership role. Most people, however, avoid leadership positions and even prefer to let someone else take charge. Leadership means taking control and responsibility for the end result and that is not always easy nor a welcomed situation. It requires a lot of self confidence, determination, and the ability to …take a punch¯ and try again when things don't go as planned. The good news is that these are skills you are developing right now in your martial arts class! Sure, it would be easier if you could label yourself as a natural born leader, but if you're like most people, you'll need to put in some extra effort, and that's ok. Martial arts will help you put on that leadership hat so you will have the opportunity to control the destiny of your goals and aspirations. This will give you the power to make a difference in the world around you.
If you want to become a good leader, it often helps to start with an honest personal evaluation of your current leadership skills. Are you self-confident? Are you a determined person? Do you give up too easily when things don't go your way? Take a few moments to think about the answers to these questions.
If martial arts teaches the skills to be a good leader, then you may think that you need to be a black belt before you can excel in a leadership role. Not true! Martial arts improves your leadership skills, it does not create them. Once you have completed your personal evaluation, rate yourself on a scale of one to ten on the skills necessary to be a good leader with ten being the highest. The steps of developing into a good leader can be related to those steps in becoming a black belt by converting your scale of one to ten into a ranking system. For fun, if you gave yourself a rating of five then consider yourself half way through the …ranks¯ to reach your …black belt¯ in leadership!
To improve your rank in the martial arts, what would you need to do? Practice, right? The same holds true for improving your leadership skills. To do this, you will have to become a …project seeker.¯
You will need to find things that you can take charge of in your daily life. These tasks will vary based on your age but they should be reflective of your leadership skills. Continuing with our example, your rank of five would put you as an intermediate leader so you would want to consider some intermediate leadership tasks.
Joseph Galea is a contributing writer for Martial Arts Monthly magazine.