I am Ron White, Two Time USA Memory Champion, memory training expert and memory keynote. I would like to share with you some of the things I learned about Leadership from my good friend and trainer, T.C. Cummings – A Former Navy Seal. This information, and other excellent points on Leadership, can be found in my memory training seminars and “Mind Like A U.S. Navy SEAL” program.

First of all I would like to say – Anyone can be a leader!  It does not take any special education, or physical attributes. Some are born to lead, with qualities of a leader already encrypted in their DNA.  Others can learn it, and develop leadership skills with just a few key lessons to practice.

Navy SEAL’s train as if all of them are leaders. In their career, something could happen in a split second that would require any one of them to pick up the gauntlet and lead the rest of the team out of danger.  As T. C. said to me in a teleseminar, “When we are walking through whatever program we are engaged in, and we are dependent on someone else to lead us, it makes us vulnerable.”

Developing leadership skills does not require any specific title, or even having assign you the responsibility of a leader, there are no special memorizing techniques involved, but it does require the confidence and the desire to take charge and assume responsibility.

People are drawn to leaders. Women like a man who takes charge, and men who are confident in their masculinity are drawn to women who are strong without being overbearing and controlling. At a seminar, people listen to speakers who take control of the discussion, and often gravitate to them for additional information.  In business, the leader of the company is not necessarily the boss, but an employee who takes control of the situations that come up and is effective in dealing with others.

Navy SEAL‘s recognize three specific keys for an effective leader:

1. Know and communicate your vision.

2. Take ownership of the atmosphere and environment around you

3. Plan your work and work your plan, then step back and access what you have done in order to learn from the mistakes and positives from the experience.

Communicate Constantly, Clearly and Often

An effective leader is a master communicator. They are constantly working with their teams to make sure everyone is on the same page. The biggest mistake a businessperson can make is to assume everyone knows what you are trying to achieve. A good leader is constantly repeating and reinforcing his/her goals and plan of action, and available and open to any discussion, suggestions and questions that the others around them may have.

What is your vision? How have you communicated this vision to your employees, peers and your clients? Are you making yourself clear?

“Bring Your Own Weather”

People around you pick up on the mood and tone you set. Take ownership of the atmosphere around you. A leader is not a victim. They don’t sit around whining when things go wrong. They create the atmosphere around them and everyone else follows their lead. If they come in with a smile and upbeat attitude, it is contagious. If they come in charged up, everyone feels the electricity. A leader takes ownership of the environment around them, and if they don’t like it – they change it.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan – Then Review

You’ve all heard this phrase – plan your work and work your plan. It simply means that you make a plan, and then focus on following that plan. The important part, however, is not simply following the plan, but reviewing what you learned from your actions – the pros and the cons, so you can do it better next time.

Navy SEAL‘s call this “Plan your dive, dive your plan – debrief.” They follow the planned exercises, communicating with each other constantly, and at the end of the exercise or mission they regroup and discuss what they could have done better, what was good about what they did, and what distractions came into play that could have effected the outcome.

Take a salesman’s job for example. He walks into a new clients office with his presentation ready and practiced. The client listens and asks questions. They shake hands and he makes the sale, or they make another appointment to discuss things further. When the salesman gets back into his car, immediately he should take notes as to the meeting while the details are still fresh in his mind. He goes over the questions the client had, and his answers. What could he have done differently to make that sale right then? What can he change to make it more effective for the next client?

Leaders take charge, make a plan, work toward achieving that plan, and then review what they have learned to hone their skills. It takes confidence, ownership of the situation, and follow through. If you own a business and are not an effective leader you won’t stand a chance of having a successful business. If you train your people to follow your lead and vision, keep reiterating what you are trying to accomplish and follow through – you can be a winner and so will your team.