The idea that a single person can make a difference is one that was proven many times over. However, if this person is someone in the position of power, the idea that they could make a change is never disputed. Ancient Romans had a saying that a leader who is a lion makes all the recruits into lions, as well. This is a great opportunity, yet, some people believe that leaders are born and not made, which is as far from the truth as it gets.
1. People skills come before everything else.
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that there’s nothing more important than people skills. In his iconic book How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie claims that what separates people at the highest posts in the business from people below them are the people skills. What do you think, is the head of the IT company the best coder in the agency or does the CEO in the steel industry know more about steel than chemists and technicians in their employ? Of course not. What they do know is how to organize people and maintain relationships in the most optimal way possible.
2. Find passion in what you do
While some may expect passion to be a prerequisite and not something you tend to, later on, keep in mind that entering the business world based exclusively on passion isn’t necessarily a good idea. What do you think, for how long are you going to stay passionate about something that isn’t making you profit or doesn’t give you much room for growth and expansion? Still, most industries that you do decide to join have something that drew you in. By just finding this in time, you’ll have a much easier time providing yourself with an intrinsic motivation that’s necessary to endure on this path of self-improvement.
3. Having a vision
The next thing you should understand is the fact that the right leader distinguishes themselves from others by constantly being able to see a bigger picture. So many times in your career as an entrepreneur or a team leader, you’ll be offered a shortcut. Even though this shortcut may lead you to some immediate boosts in productivity or financial gains, at the end of the day, it’s usually not worth taking detours which may stray you from your path. You see a vision isn’t the same thing as an interest. Determining your interest is easy – growth, expansion and profit. Your vision is how you get there, what quality of services you provide and what kind of values you hold close to heart. It’s what separates you from every other leader in the industry.
4. Find some guidance
Unless you’re a first-time entrepreneur and have no one in your employ who has this kind of experience, you should probably look for an adequate mentor or a coach. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a spot where you need some education that no one within your organization can provide. In that case, you should probably look for some outside help in educational organizations like The Impossible Institute. This is a great idea not just because it provides you with some leadership hints but because instructors at the institute take the industry you’re from into consideration, as well. This can give you a much more pragmatic approach to the situation.
5. Lead by an example
Leadership is about more than just telling people what to do. It’s about showing them that things can be done, as well. Therefore, the right leader leads by an example. For instance, if there’s an office activity that everyone is reluctant to try out, you should be the one to spearhead this change. Let’s say you want to encourage your team to carpool to work in order to reduce the carbon footprint caused by the commute of your company. There’s nothing to prevent you, as an executive, to carpool to work, as well. Some executives try to impress their staff members with financial gains, yet, this is an inefficient move that is more likely to cause a feeling of envy than one of admiration.
6. Constantly challenge yourself
As a leader, you’ll constantly be faced with tough competition and hard choices. Therefore, you need to condition yourself to always be outside of your comfort zone. To do this, you need to constantly challenge yourself, which is not a simple thing. First of all, you need to realize one thing. The difficulty of a challenge matters quite a bit. If you set the bar too high, you might get discouraged and, as a result, discourage yourself. If you make it into something too easy, you’ll end up robbing it off of its meaning. In the end, it won’t matter whether you succeed or fail, seeing as how success will end up meaning nothing at all.
As we already stated in the introduction, leaders aren’t born, they’re made. Charisma and organizational skills can both be improved, no matter how firmly you believe the opposite to be the case. Nonetheless, neither of these things comes easy, yet, knowing that the end result is worth it more than helps. The best of all is the fact that these leadership skills tend to be something that you can apply to virtually every single aspect of your life, meaning that it benefits you on more than one front.