“You are what people think you are” represents a common-sense appreciation of an important fact of life. This not only applies to your persona; it refers to just about every aspect of one’s relationship with others. We intuitively know that being persuasive, for example, is not about how right you are; right often having little to do with influencing others. In fact, we see leaders in our own century, such as Hitler and Stalin, who were able to convince millions of adherents to believe in something that was inherently untrue, cruel, and self-destructive. Having power over someone else’s life is, without a doubt, part of the reason for this level of impact. But there is much more to this – it is about people believing in you and therefore your message. It is about credibility and faith in your honor and truthfulness. It is about placing the “mission” before your needs – so people will do the same. Yes, it is about leadership.
As a trial attorney, leadership is the most important quality one needs to possess to attain peak performance in the courtroom. I came to this understanding a few years ago while studying leadership at a course for business managers. The lecturer spoke of the qualities of great leaders: how they instill confidence and personal desire to commit, how their credibility and integrity bring people to be self-motivated to do the right thing. How leaders find people who want to be
led and that your audience will always value the leader above everyone else in any group situation. Most importantly, the leader is the individual who has the greatest impact in reducing group anxiety regarding unfamiliar situations, change, or disruption.