How true leaders—yes, that’s you—motivate others to take action

Businessman leader rising in a hot air balloon - Leadership concLeadership means doing a lot more than making hiring decisions, signing paychecks, and taking care of your team and your company. True leaders motivate others to take action.

When you think of leaders in your community, who comes to mind? Public officials? Civic group presidents? Pastors? These are fine choices, but many entrepreneurs don’t realize how their business acumen and leadership skills in the corporate world can be used to enhance the communities in which they live.

If you don’t already consider yourself a leader with the community, then think about this: You have the potential to be one. If you’ve ever wanted to be more civic minded, and become a leader in the private sector as well, take some time to think about these ideas.

Find a cause you’re passionate about
Believe it or not, you have the power to influence other decision-makers in your community. When an issue that’s important to you arises, write letters to politicians respectfully expressing your thoughts and ideas. Attend town hall meetings, and tell your city council why you care. Get to know these people, and make your voice heard in a kind and thoughtful manner.

Make it a family service outing
True servant leaders put others first. Is there a ministry or a nonprofit whose mission you identify with? Find one you really believe in, and give it your all. Invest your time, energy and resources into it, and you’ll have the power to make a real difference.

On top of that, make it a family affair. Giving back to the community while sharing the experience with your family can be a bonding and learning experience your kids will remember the rest of their lives.

Make things personal
There’s something special about a handwritten note in today’s culture of email and text messages — especially one that’s unexpected. If you know someone who has a tough job or just needs a reminder that they’re awesome, let them know! You’re guaranteed to become a source of inspiration in their lives. People who do things like this gain influence and respect.

Surprise people whose job it is to serve others
People who work stressful jobs serving others often don’t receive the appreciation they deserve. Let them know their work matters! Bring treats to the nurses’ station at your local hospital or to the teachers’ lounge at your neighborhood school. Drop off some pizza or sandwiches at the police department or fire station. Then, watch their faces light up when you remind them they’re respected!

So are you ready now to make a difference in your community? Leadership opportunities don’t happen just at work; they’re are all around you. All you have to do is choose one and start making a difference!