Leadership is a skill you can master, like woodworking or video games. A leader learns to behave like a hero by helping others. He explores the options for change. He keeps the goal uppermost in his mind. He celebrates results and progress.
Sometimes it feels like you are herding cats when you want people motivated and working together. Here you’ll discover leadership skills you can put into practice immediately in any capacity. Use these 13 tips to become a leader in your own sphere of influence.
Leaders on Mount Rushmore
The best leaders are also excellent people who merit respect and trust. They are remarkable for their integrity, positive outlook, strong relationships, determination and commitment. As you can develop these attributes, you become a better leader.
- When we speak of great leaders, we expect to discover their charisma, powerful personality, self-confidence, and speaking eloquence. Through the years, great leaders like President Dwight Eisenhower, Gandhi of India, General George S. Patton, Thomas J. Watson of IBM, Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs of Apple, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, have emerged in government, military and business. But strong leaders are everywhere around us if we look for them.
- A great leader gives his organization a dream, a soul and a vision.
- In business, leadership is focused on building a successful company. But real achievement is measured in emotional wealth, friendship, usefulness, helping and learning.
- To motivate others, you connect to their deep desires. You can’t really control your people, just like you can’t boss your cat. Motivation comes from within your employee, not from you. Leaders show people how to motivate themselves.
The Leader in Me
We all have the capacity for self-discipline, but some of us don’t use it much. It’s a tool that anyone can use, like a wrench, or like a dictionary, to accomplish virtually any goal. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. Discipline is how you stay on track.
- Before he or she can coach others, a leader will truly listen and step into their mindset. A bad boss will tune out the complaints and excuses. But a leader will give them his attention. You’ll get valuable input from your people if you take time to listen. When you’ve got a knotty problem to solve, ask others for their thoughts, suggestions and solutions.
- A good leader is an agent of change, someone who causes action. You are the one who decides what will happen today and how it will come about.
- A good leader will focus on one important result and work toward it. Leadership is not about putting out fires or being lost in a rat race or reading 300 emails today. Don’t let the job control you; you must control the job. Today is all about that one result that will make all the difference. Slow down, relax and focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking and juggling a dozen balls creates stress.
- Your role as a leader is to keep your people cheered up, optimistic and eager to play the game. To do that you should BE the change you want to see in others. If you want a more positive staff, or more engaged employees, be positive and engaged yourself.
- Change happens. Be ready it. Don’t be a victim of change. Competition changes, laws change, the customer changes. Take ownership for what happens and stay committed. Show your people how. Encourage your people to explore the options and embrace the opportunity to move forward in a changed environment.
- Show your people how to get on results you want, looking beyond the daily busywork and procedures of the office. If you want better results, let your people know it. When a hospital wanted to reduce the spread of infection, it encouraged hand washing, tracked the activity, and posted the percentage improvement where everyone could see it. It didn’t take long before the rate of in-hospital infection was cut nearly in half.
- Communicate to your people that you believe in them, that they are capable and have the potential to excel in their field. Words alone are not enough to motivate others. It is the attention and respect that the leader delivers. Positive self esteem gives your people the confidence to do more and try harder, because they expect to succeed.