July 06, 2017
10 Ways to Develop as a Leader
By Laeeka Khan
Image source: www.ebay.com
We all have a secret passion burning within us. It is an indefatigable flame that refuses to die. If we are honest with ourselves in the middle of the night, we know exactly what it will take for us to achieve our goals. It usually means having the courage, the guts and the determination to get on our feet, rise up and become a leader. The question is, do we actually rise to the occasion or slam ourselves right back into the boxes that we think we belong in?
The truth of the matter is, that we imagine the path to be a straight and linear ascent to greatness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many struggle stories of successful entrepreneurs have chronicled the path to leadership as one filled with challenges.
The willingness to go the distance.
The ability to fall and fail spectacularly, but to also get back up the next morning and trying again!
There is something about taking the leap that many people underestimate. Though many of us have the dormant dragon of leadership breathing fire close to our veins, few have the courage to explore the benefits of getting out of the comfort zone. If you’re out there, sitting down, reading this and you need a catalyst to ignite your soul, here are 10 Ways to Develop as a Leader.
1. Embrace passion in your daily life
What is it that you feel passionate about? What makes the hairs on your neck stand up? What fills your eyes with tears of joy? These are things that you need to pay attention to. As a leader it matters that you live a life of authenticity. Your personal passion and joy will be the source from which your leadership abilities emanate.
2. Build resilience and determination
Good leadership qualities come from people who understand that building themselves up is a daily practice. Take a moment to think about what determination looks like to you. What does it mean to you, to build resilience? Some people actively learn how to build determination and resilience. Others take some time to introspect and find out what gives them fire. Take a moment to find out how you can do it too.
3. Learn how to follow
In order to develop leadership skills you will also learn how to follow. While this may sound like a contradictory practice, following teaches you a few important character building elements. Like humility, empathy, compassion and other feelings. You also gain a healthy sense of self-awareness and emotional intelligence from taking a step back and being led.
4. Be prepared to ditch comfort
One of the greatest things you can do on the path toward becoming a leader is to ditch comfort. It is easy to go about your life dodging hurt and avoiding disappointment. If we are looking at life through that lens, we may as well be living in a cocoon. A real leader rises to the occasion, finds his or her voice and isn’t afraid to step out of his/her comfort zone to challenge the status quo.
5. You CAN be vulnerable
It is easy to go about your professional journey giving off the impression of being as hard as nails. But in all honesty life is about sharing the joy of connection. A leader embraces vulnerability and the fact that they are human at every turn. It doesn’t mean that you have to pour your heart and soul out to every person in the workplace. You just need to drop all pretences and be less ‘know-it-all’ in your approach.
6. Use your words sparingly
There is a certain power in being quieter and more circumspect with your words. When you emanate peace as a leader, you draw people into your energy and aura. What you say also has a greater impact if you say it more sparingly. Choose what you give your energy to in terms of the things that you speak into being and what is happening in the world around you.
7. Embrace making tough decisions
As much there may be the sense that people rebel against leadership, there is always a secret longing for someone to step up and take the lead. People need those who can think on their feet, act and give direction. A good leader is not afraid to take the reins and make tough decisions that nobody wants to touch with a barge pole.
8. Listen and learn
It is easy to listen to the words that people say. But, part of effective listening is also about understanding how to read non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions and the eyes of the people that you are talking to. In a position of leadership you will have to get an intuitive sense of who people are and what they are about. People management is less about logistics and information management and more about understanding human beings. Listen to understand. While you are on the point of listening, know that a true leader isn’t afraid to learn. As a leader on the rise, don’t be afraid to read or even study a leadership course if you have to.
9. Be a person of influence
What you do is much more important than what you say. People are looking at you all the time for clues on what you do and how to treat you. One of the easiest ways to be a person of influence is to be your authentic self. Cast off your fears, walk your talk and most importantly have the courage to serve the people in your environment through your natural skills and abilities.
10. Ask for help if you need it
Being a self-assured leader is one thing. Being a smart-ass know-it-all is quite another. A true leader understands the power of vulnerability and approachability in their interactions with others. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you are human and if that means asking for help, so be it.
Simon Sinek on Building Trust through Committed Leadership
Being a leader is no easy feat. More than just a title, it is a way of being. It is a journey and an undertaking and one that you take with every fibre of your being. The path towards leadership demands that you reinvent yourself continually and find ways in which to develop as one. Here’s hoping that I’ve helped you find your way as a leader.