When you are at work, do you get frustrated because things don’t seem to be happening the way you want them or they are supposed to? Do you see people milling around but nothing gets accomplished? And, in the daily hustle and bustle, do you feel that your goals remain just that – goals? Then, maybe it’s time for you to stand up and do something about it.
Most people are content just to sit around listening to orders and it’s not that unusual for people to get into the follow-the-leader mentality. But, if somewhere inside of you, you feel the desire to make things happen – to be the head, not the tail – you should act on it. Maybe leadership could be your best suit. It may be true that some people are born with natural abilities to lead, but most of the people learn these abilities.
If you feel that calling, but feel you don’t necessarily have the genetic skills, you have to know that in order to succeed, you have to accept that it is a big challenge, you need a winning and positive mindset, and the willingness to improve yourself each day. Without practice, without drive, without enthusiasm, and without experience, there can be no real development in leadership, so you must take into account that good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their skills.
Now, let’s ask some important questions to help you in your leadership pursuit.
First of all, what is leadership?
Leadership has many definitions, but they all come down to essentially the same core –the ability to motivate, influence and inspire other people to accomplish goals. Leaders are important everywhere because they make things happen, they contribute to the cohesion of a group, and lead teams toward success.
Contrary to what most people believe, leadership is not about power, neither is it about harassing people or managing them by using fear. It is about encouraging others on their way to achieving the goals of the organization. It is about getting everyone on the same page and helping them see the bigger picture. To be a leader, you must not be a boss.
How do you get people to follow you?
People follow other people when they see a clear sense of purpose. People will only follow you if they understand your vision for the direction you are leading them to. Remember that bumper sticker? The one that says ‘don’t follow me, I’m lost too’? The same holds true for leadership. If you do not know where you are headed, chances are you will not inspire other people to follow you into that unknown.
If you are dedicated to a vision and you take the time to explain it to the people you work with, you will win their trust and willingness to follow you. Having a clear sense of hierarchy, knowing the people in control and how to approach them, adopting the proposed goals and objectives, and understanding the smallest details of how things work are all important traits for a leader because they all indicate a clear direction.
What are the most important values to have as a leader?
As a leader, the way you deal with people in your team and the relationships you build will lay the foundation for the strength of your group. The stronger your relationship, the stronger their trust and confidence are in your capabilities. Building trust is something that takes time, you should start by being open, approachable, reasonable and fair to everyone. Treating all your team members equally will build their confidence in you and their desire to work purposefully.
Another critical factor in being a great leader is effective communication. A leader should communicate often and make sure that everyone understands the message, adapting the methods when necessary to suit the needs of the team. Leadership is as much about communication, as it is about listening, so making efforts to take in the feedback received is the key to development.
Being a leader sometimes means that you have to make some hard decisions, so standards should be imposed for everyone to follow. A good leader holds everyone accountable, including himself, and this helps a team build responsibility and credibility within the group. This will help in the decision-making process, as well, because those values guide the path to consistency, firmness in action and confidence in the results.
Are leaders all-in-one heroes?
Good leaders should not claim to know everything, to be all powerful or to rely on their skills alone. Leadership is about collaboration, about using all the skills and talents available in a team to help achieve the goals set out.
Leaders should lead by example, be a source of inspiration and the support the team needs in following a path. They should consistently motivate themselves and the ones around them, but be willing to accept failures and learn from them.
Leaders are not heroes, but they are the guiding lights for teams everywhere. They should have an excellent capacity for self-reflection, but not become solitary and unwilling to cooperate, because most of their work is about interaction with people. They are passionate and spread the burning desire to succeed in their team. They constantly learn, improve themselves and work on their strengths and weaknesses, inspiring the team to do the same.
All these questions give a perspective about what is needed to become an ideal leader. Most of the times, being a leader is not about the highest position in a company, but more about developing the skills to get results alongside your team members. Whether you are a charismatic born leader or you achieve it with years of training, it is within your reach to be a great leader if you put your mind to it.
So, do you think you have the drive and the desire required of leaders? Do you have the ambition to work cooperatively with other people? Then start now and take your stand as a leader today.