“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
– John F. Kennedy
Leadership is one skill that can get you out of anywhere. It is one of the most essential skill for anyone to learn.
Leadership is a skill required in every corner of life. A recruiter wishes to see it, an investor or a client trusts someone that has it, as well as a coach shows confidence in a player that possesses it.
But before we get into the steps that will help you become a successful leader, let us understand what it means to be a leader.
Meaning of leadership
A simple google search shows that the action of leading a group of people or an organization is known as leadership.
According to Wikipedia,
“Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual or organization to “lead” or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations.”
But we know that is nothing but a mere definition of leadership.
So what does it actually mean to be a leader?
“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.”
– Jim Rohn
The definition of leadership given by the business directory states,
Leadership involves establishing a clear vision, sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly, providing the information, knowledge, as well as methods to realize that vision. Moreover, leaders help coordinate and balance the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders.
Qualities of a leader
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
– John Maxwell
You may have heard this many times before, a good leader is the one that not only knows how to manage people but also inspire them to achieve a common goal.
A true leader is bold and never steers away from a course of action. Moreover, he/she is very good at motivating the team.
Leaders are the personalities that make others want to follow them. The emphasis is on the team’s willingness to follow.
So what separates someone that manages from someone that leads?
To answer the above question, we will need to take a look at the top qualities that a true leader possesses.
Vision and focus
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
– Theodore M. Hesburgh
Being able to see into the future is the first sign of leadership. True leaders always know where they are heading so that they can properly guide their team as well.
They have a clear agenda as well as exciting ideas along with dedication and focus to turn those ideas into reality. Moreover, good leaders are also amazing at strategic planning.
While managers are good at getting the job done, leaders are good at tapping the emotion and sharing their vision with the entire team.
Great communication skills
Leaders are great communicators. They not only instruct, motivate, and discipline the team but also give the impression that they are someone the team can share their problems with.
Great leaders don’t only know how to communicate their thoughts clearly but also listen to the team, in fact, they insist upon taking different opinions.
If there’s one thing that is common between a true leader and a great entrepreneur, it is courage.
Actually there’s many…
Having courage means that you are willing to take the necessary risks. Despite success not being assured, great leaders take the risk and are not afraid to fail.
They treat failure as a lesson and keep their focus on the commitment to achieve the vision.
If a man/woman isn’t honest, they shouldn’t expect anybody to follow them.
In all the books of history, you will find one thing to be common. Every great leader of the past was completely honest and loyal to his/her vision.
A master of true leadership is always honest and has a keen sense of right and wrong. They are completely honest with everything they do, both internally and externally. Moreover, they are loyal to their team, business, and company.
The foundation of honesty is set when you start telling the truth in every situation you are put in. People trust the ones that show signs of truthfulness.
Would you trust someone that lied all the time?
Great leaders are those who can take strong actions, make important decisions, and at the same time, are humble.
Most people think that humility is a sign of weakness. That showing humility makes you insignificant.
But the truth is far from the above.
Humility doesn’t translate to being weak or being unsure of oneself. It means that you are confident and self-aware enough to not feel threatened while appreciating their value.
Humility is very rare these days because it requires people to leave their ego aside and admitting when you are wrong or give credit to those that deserve it.
Being empathetic refers to understanding someone else’s emotions. Simply put, it means being able to see things by being in someone else’s shoes.
Empathy is important for leaders to develop because it allows them to see things from different perspectives. When a team member comes to you with a problem, you as a leader must be able to understand things his/her way.
Yes, you need to achieve those targets but reaching the top all alone isn’t a sign of good leadership.
A good leader not only leads but also has trust in his/her ability to train the people under them.
As a result, they are willing to empower their team to be able to act on their own.
A leader understands that when individuals are given the power to act on their own, they make decisions that are in the best interest of the company. Moreover, they develop the ability to overcome problems on their own.
Leaders let the team act and experiment on their own. That’s the key to innovation
Steps to becoming a successful leader
“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.”
– John Maxwell
Many believe that leadership cannot be taught; it is something that you have to learn on your own and that every leader became one through different experiences.
Next are the five steps that will not make you a better leader but can definitely guide you in the right direction. Read them and implement each one of them in your life if you wish to become a better leader:
Get inspired to be able to inspire
Let’s just say that there’s no better way to learn something than by observing someone else.
So the first step in becoming a successful leader is to find one that truly inspires you. Look up the internet and pick 2, 3, 4, or however many you like.
Start following these leaders and soon you will start noticing how they talk, act, as well as present themselves.
If you ever get the chance to have a mentor that you not only learn from but also get inspired from, don’t let that opportunity go to waste.
Step one: Find people that inspire you and learn from them
Constantly get out of your comfort zone
As mentioned before, great leaders are risk-takers. And you can’t take a risk without getting out of your comfort zone.
Do things that scare you like public speaking. Take those tiny steps one at a time and soon you will find yourself to be a changed personality.
So the second step to keep in mind is: Keep doing things that make you feel uncomfortable
Great leaders never complain. They take full responsibility for their actions as well as recognize that the world around them is their doing.
Start taking full responsibility for everything around you.
- If you don’t earn enough, that’s because of you
- Whether you are happy or not, it’s on you
- If you think your life sucks, that’s on you too
Normal people sit back and let life take control of the wheel but leaders refuse to sit idly on the driver’s seat. They understand what they truly want and go all-in to get it.
Step three: Start taking full responsibility for everything around you. No more blame game!
Know yourself better and accept all of it
To be able to have a vision that drives you, you need to understand what drives you.
Great leaders know themselves better than anyone else does. They know what they want, what gives them a sense of purpose, as well as what their core values are.
They not only know their strengths but also acknowledge their weaknesses. You will never find a good leader to do or work on something which he/she doesn’t believe in.
Step four: Know yourself better, only than can you inspire others to be like you
Always keep learning new things
It doesn’t matter what your expertise is or what niche or industry you are in, to become a successful leader, you must keep learning new things.
Leaders are experts and are usually the smartest ones in the room. If they stop learning and gaining knowledge regarding new things, they will get left behind.
All great leaders of the world spend at least 1-2 hours every day to read a book or learn something new. This helps them always stay at the top of their game as well as stay up-to-date with the constantly changing world.
Nobody gets inspired by an outdated leader.
So the final step is: Keep learning new things and keep growing constantly!