If you don’t believe you were born to lead, then you should at least learn to do so. People in leadership positions have the ability to influence, cultivate a distinct personal image, and are privy to numerous benefits. In any situation in life, being able to provide leadership can be crucial to your personal or professional development. Below are a couple of things you can do to sharpen your leadership skills.
Whatever position you currently hold in the social, professional or political ladder, keeping promises is a must if you want to be a great leader. If you know you won’t be able to do something, then don’t go through the trouble of making a promise. The reasoning behind this is that unfulfilled expectations and broken promises are the number one killer of credibility. This commitment will revamp your integrity and discipline. Try it with your spouse, your kids at home, or with your colleagues.
Dress to Influence
Great leaders dress to influence, not to impress. What this means is that you need to make sure that your dressing is consistent with your professional or personal brand. So how do you get started? Take a break and visualize what a leader with the inspirations you harbor should appear to others. What do they want to wear? How do they want to brand their business vehicles or other instruments of the trade? Don’t just limit this to yourself. Think outside the box and try to see how you can uplift the image of your team and organization as well.
Treat People Well
Great leaders will treat people as they want to be treated. They will communicate clearly and honestly. If you want to be a business leader, don’t ask your employees to be polite to your customers and still be a jerk to them. This will only make you look hypocritical. Treating people goes a long way towards boosting your influence potent. As Robert Greenleaf said in the 1960’s, servant leadership isn’t about being servile, but rather about finding great ways to support your followers so that they end up being more successful. Every once in a while, ask yourself this question ‘What can I do to help?’
Ultimately, there are only two ways to progress as a leader – grow yourself and grow your followers. If you have a team that’s working under you, focus on how you can improve them. Think about operational efficiency and anything else that’s likely to enhance results. For instance, a Florida startup provides books that benefit their employees both personally professionally. Each month, all employees are required to read the book (they each earn $50 after completing it) and then discuss it towards the end of the month. Food for thought.
While leaders react to unsolicited feedback as criticism, they miss an opportunity to learn. Waiting for your followers to become bold enough to provide feedback happens to be a risky proposition. But don’t just go asking people what they like or dislike about you. Phrase the question along the lines of ‘from your perspective, what could I do to become more effective as a leader?” You also want to tune into actionable behavior. If someone says that your communication could be clearer, take note and figure out how you can do just that. Come up with an action list that you can implement moving forward.
Serious about being an effective leader? These easy strategies will get you started on the right footing.