Becoming a great leader doesn’t require a special or unique set of circumstances, nor does it require a prominent job or a fancy title. The fact is that anyone can become a great leader. Some leaders are born but most are made. In addition, being a good leader has nothing to do with being in a leadership position.
The truth is that your leadership journey can start today regardless of the circumstances of your career or personal life. You don’t have to wait for an opportunity to be placed into a leadership role to begin training and developing your skills for leading others. Leadership development can occur in any situation at any time. Many of the skills required to lead others are the same skills that you need to lead yourself and become a person of high moral character and integrity.
There are several characteristics and traits that you can develop and improve that will enable you to be a better leader in all aspects of your life. Don’t procrastinate and wait any longer, start working on becoming a better version of yourself today. With that said, here are five simple tips that you can use to start or further develop your leadership skills right now.
“Let us all be the leaders we wish we had.” – Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last
Take Ownership and Responsibility
All great leaders have this one trait in common; they all take responsibility for their actions and take ownership for the results that they achieve. Great leaders always strive to do the right thing even in the face of intense adversity. When mistakes happen, great leaders step up and take ownership, learning from the mistake and course correcting for future improvement.
In learning to become a better leader, you can start taking ownership and responsibility for things in your life today. Having integrity is something that is highly desired in people. However, it also seems to be extremely hard to find in society these days. Make the conscious decision to be honest all of the time and to always do what is right. Follow through on every promise you make and never make excuses if you don’t deliver. Always under promise and over deliver. Most people do the opposite. In addition, don’t complain when things don’t go your way and definitely don’t blame others for your shortcomings.
When your character starts to change and reflect these principles, you will become well-respected and trusted. This just may just lead you into the opportunity that you have been waiting for in life.
Don’t just let life happen to you. Instead, you need to happen to life. This is especially important when you want to make a change in your life. There’s a saying that goes “Nothing changes when nothing changes.” You have to be intentional about making changes and improvements to your life. Moreover, being intentional goes beyond just seeking to improve yourself. Being intentional means taking control of what you can influence and making a conscious effort to bring about the results that you desire. With intentional thinking, an action will always follow your thoughts.
When you intentionally seek opportunities to grow, lead, and become a better version of yourself, chances are those opportunities will be found. Rarely is the case that opportunity is handed to you on a silver platter. You’ve often got to create the situation and environment for an opportunity to happen. Great leaders understand this and they are always intentional in their actions because they want results and they want to create opportunities to get those results while also growing, innovating, and ultimately succeeding.
Become a Better Listener
Becoming a better listener is something that almost every single person on the planet needs to do. Instead of listening to another person with the intent to respond, listen with the intent to understand instead. When listening to others, it’s important to maintain eye contact and to focus on the words that they are saying. Allow them to complete their thoughts and then follow up by asking questions or providing feedback to show that you were listening.
Becoming a great listener will be one of the best skills you will ever learn. The cool thing is that you can start becoming a better listener today. In each and every interaction you have with another person, give them your full intention and focus on listening to them. I guarantee that if you start listening to others better, you’ll start to see changes in your relationships and in how you are treated by others. Put the other person first and show them that you care about them and that you value their thoughts by actively listening to them. For more information on how to improve your listening skills, check out these Nine Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills.
Start Caring About Others
Becoming a great leader means that you’re going to have to start caring about other people more than you care about yourself. My Church has a motto that goes, “There’s more to life than me.” There is so much truth in this statement. No one is going to follow a selfish, self-centered, and narcissistic leader.
When you truly care about other people and put them first, they will be drawn to you fully desiring you’re leadership. In addition, if you have integrity and are trustworthy, you’ll find yourself being placed in leadership roles more and more often. You will also be given more opportunities to lead teams and groups of employees. Most great leaders have characteristics or traits that show that they place others first. In his book Leaders Eat Last (affiliate link to Amazon), Simon Sinek says, “Leadership is the choice to serve others with or without any formal rank.”
Start today by learning to put others needs ahead of your own. This is not easy but it can be accomplished through practice and intentional action. Talk with others and ask how you can help them or what you can do today to develop and improve their productivity and efficiency. When they respond to your inquiry, take the time to listen and take what they say to heart. Becoming a servant leader is the ultimate form of leadership. When you put other’s first, anything is possible.
Build a Strong Network of Trusted Friends and Colleagues
My final simple tip for improving your leadership skills today involves working on building a strong network of trusted friends and colleagues. One of the things that great leaders often do is that they know how to utilize people to the best of their ability and who to call when they need help with something.
Meeting new people and getting involved with others’ work is a great way to open your mind to other perspectives, innovative ideas, and new ways of thinking. You’ll often be surprised by what others can teach you if you are willing to listen and ask questions. A mature leader understands that they don’t have all the answers and that there is always someone else out there who knows more about something than they do. Furthermore, leaders who have a strong connection of trusted friends and colleagues will be able to build exemplary teams and accomplish extraordinary results.
When you meet a new person, you should take the time to understand who they are, what their background is, what their job is, and what skills they have. You never know when you might need their help or when they might need yours.
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