Some people are branded as natural-born leaders because of their innate charisma, influence, conscientiousness, and ability to support others. Others are considered better off as followers in the sense that they are consistent, loyal, trustworthy, and proactive. While this is all well and good, strictly adhering to this dichotomy does limit certain individuals from reaching their full potential.
Think of it this way: every leader has likely been a follower at some point in their lives. In the same vein, people who are considered followers also take on leadership roles in other aspects of their lives. For instance, perhaps they lead as a parent, a confidante, or an educator outside of their main profession.
While not everyone may feel ready to start revolutions, manage governments, or found companies, everyone does have the capacity to lead and influence others. If you find your roles and purpose in life have changed and aren’t sure how you can get it done, a leadership coaching session or two can help. To give you a head start, though, read on for some insights on what makes for a great leader and how you can get comfortable in your leadership role.
Seeing Yourself as a Leader
You don’t have to be the highest-ranking or most popular person in the room to be considered a leader. Though these are some of the more widely accepted definitions, they aren’t the only ones out there. Simply put, if you set an example and practise what you preach, you can already be considered a leader. And while you may not be in a leadership role just yet, you will likely be in one at some point in life.
However, to be an effective leader, there are other qualities that you need to possess. It’s not only about dictating what your team should do. You’ll need to develop various skills such as critical thinking and communication. At the same time, you’ll also want to learn how to lead with confidence and humility. Fortunately, most of these can be learned through experience or a leadership development program.
Claiming your brand of leadership begins with believing in your purpose and worth as a person. Remember that you have something to offer to others. Seeing your own worth puts you in a much better position to influence others positively.
Once you’ve identified your cause, devote yourself to it. Don’t focus only on managing your team. Rather, think about how you can best serve them. After all, good leaders do more than provide guidance and direction; they provide support, too. As such, make it a point to listen more than you speak and dedicate yourself to making a difference. By taking action, you’ll drive others to follow suit.
Why Everyone Needs to Lead
Truly, everyone has the potential—and many compelling reasons—to learn how to become a leader. For example, if your boss retires or resigns, you might have to replace them and keep everything going. If there’s a crisis in your friend group that you’re capable of solving, you need to step up and do something about it.
The great thing about becoming a leader is that you don’t need a formal title to prove yourself as one. As mentioned before, leaders aren’t only found in professional organisations. They can be found in schools, friend groups, and family units, to name a few.
More than simply providing people with instructions, leadership is about listening to others, motivating them, and helping them realise that they are leaders in their own right. And even if someone is already leading your team, it’s a good idea to be prepared to take up their mantle in case they have to step down for whatever reason.
Learning How to Lead
Are you constantly trying to find meaning and value in your life? That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s a necessary step to learn how to lead yourself and others with purpose. Instead of looking at external factors that would traditionally define you as a leader, though, look inside of yourself. Take some time to identify all of the things that are most important to you. These form the basis for your values, all of which will inform the decisions that you have to make.
That being said, a good leader makes decisions that align with their core values, even if it may not garner the approval of others. Instead of worrying about what others will think or say about you, focus on whether your decision will negatively affect someone else and if it can be avoided. Treat your values as your inner compass, and you’ll be sure to make the most impactful decisions when it matters the most.
Now, all of this may seem a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure all of this out by yourself. You can seek out leadership tips for managers and even invest in personal and professional coaching to hone your leadership skills and build your confidence. While you do have to be driven by your core values to be a good leader, you can always ask others for input until you can confidently make those decisions yourself. By doing all of this, you’ll be ready to lead with purpose when the right time comes.
Build your confidence as a leadership by joining Justine Maree Cox’s leadership program today.