“Because you only ever deserved the Styrofoam cup.”- Simon Sinek. All leaders have started off as a follower, deserving nothing more than a Styrofoam cup. However, when one becomes a leader they receive a ceramic cup rather than a Styrofoam cup. What this analogy intends to show is that all people have started off at the same point, but where we end up depends on the individual.
Although, every leader should recognize where they came from, and that the ceramic cup is given to the position of leadership, not the person. This comes down to what makes a good leader. A good leader is humble yet self-centered when present, compassionate yet unfeeling when needed, and powerful yet subservient when in charge.
A good leader is able to stand before a crowd of individuals with the knowledge of knowing when to take acceptance for a project's completion and when to grant that praise to their team members. Being humble requires someone to understand that they cannot complete a task alone and may require the assistance of others for help. Being humble is knowing the strengths and weaknesses you have as a leader and using both to your advantage.
However, a good leader knows when to be self-centered. A good leader is meant to stand above their peers to accept praise for a completed project. To much humbleness will give people the assumption that the leader did little to no work, or that they cannot accept a compliment. Both are damaging to the reputation of that individual. For any person to truly analyze who they are, they have to be self-centered to do so. For a leader to take care of their fellow team members, they must first learn how to take care of themselves.
A good leader is an individual who will care for each and every person who is a part of their team. They are able to understand what is being said and translate it into action. They see the viewpoints of their team members and act accordingly to help accommodate everyone. With every good leader, every team member feels that their voice is heard, shared, and accounted for. A good leader is someone who is compassionate to people and cares about what is being said.
However, a good leader knows when to rule with an iron-fist. They know what to do and will make sure everyone does their job accordingly. They make sure every team member is doing the best that they can do to get a project done efficiently and adequately. This may upset people because they may feel that the leader is dispassionate, unempathetic, and unfeeling. Although, it is the role of the leader to play both parts good and bad. A good leader knows how to be harsh and caring when needed. This is how a good leader is able to get the most out of everyone that is a part of their team.
A good leader is one who knows how to take charge and delegate. This happens through the power of the leader. They have the ability to command a group of individuals to get the job done. They have an air around them that exudes confidence and strength. Every good leader is able to speak well with a strong voice. They have the ability to have power over others without making them feel like they are domineering. A good leader has the capacity to influence others to do their work and make it feel that their job is worth doing and worth doing well.
However, a good leader also knows when to step down and let another person take the place of leader. The best teachers were students. The same analogy applies to leaders. The best leaders were once followers and still are. A good leader is always learning and willing to be taught something new. They have the capability of opening their mind to new ideas and theories. A good leader is someone who is not ignorant of the ability of others and is also willing to learn.
A good leader has all of these attributes to them. No one is born a great leader. No one is born knowing what it takes to command an entire group of people and do it well. Everything that it takes to become a good leader is taught. It is taught by other leaders who once, themselves, were followers.
We all started off as a follower, with a Styrofoam cup. As we learn and grow, we start to become a better leader and a better follower, until we have reached the ceramic cup. As a good leader, we have the ceramic cup in hand, but are able to look at another person across the room drinking from a Styrofoam cup and not see someone lesser than, but an equal. Just because we have the position, that position doesn’t make us who we are because, in the end, we all started with that Styrofoam cup.