What Makes a Great Leader? A great leader is someone who instills feelings of inspiration and motivation over fear and anxiety. This person does not seek authority, but instead, thrives off of empowering others to live up to their fullest potential. In a negative situation, a true leader will not only remain positive, but they will fight to share that positivity with those around them. You may hear these characteristics and compare them to your leadership skills, leaving you to wonder if you have what it takes. Here’s the deal- you don’t have to be a “naturally born leader” to make an impact within your career, company, or within your social circles.
Even the best of the best need to practice their craft regularly because a true leader does not stay stagnant. As you progress within leadership positions, both at your job and in life, it’s important to always be in a growth mindset. No matter your title or place in life or business, there are always skills to learn and improve. Though there are many ways to grow your leadership skills, we’ve compiled four of the best tips to help get you started!
Never Stop Learning
Good leaders are always learning. Think about some of the best bosses and managers you’ve been around. Chances are, they can always be found reading new books, listening to podcasts for outside perspectives, or taking a class after work.
Don’t wait until you’re in a leadership role to consume this same knowledge. Most of the resources available to established leaders are open to you as well! Consider signing up for a Dale Carnegie course where you’ll go through intensive leadership, public speaking, sales performance, and people skills training.
If you don’t have room in the budget to make that kind of investment just yet, there are thousands of leadership podcasts available for free. Or, you can always find cheaper online courses through services like Lynda Learning.
Ask for Feedback
To be an effective and trusted leader, you must learn how to not only give feedback but receive it as well. Good leaders will accept feedback gracefully, meaning that they are in control of their defensiveness and view suggestions as opportunities to improve themselves.
A good leader will also actively ask the people around them for feedback out of genuine interest to always do and be better. Doing so will help you understand your strengths, weaknesses, and leadership style. Positively receiving feedback is certainly easier said than done for most people. But the only way to learn is by doing. Start strengthening your leadership skills by going out of your way to seek feedback whenever you can!
Study the Leaders You Admire
Think about the leaders you admire most. This could be a friend, colleague, past teacher, boss, or coach. Or even someone you’ve never met who is famous for their success. What is it about their character and leadership style that resonates with you so much?
One of the best ways to become an effective leader is to study other leaders and emulate their traits you aspire to most. If this person is easily accessible to you, consider reaching out and networking if you haven’t connected in a while. Share your aspirations with them and ask for their advice on leadership. If it’s not possible to connect with this person, listen to podcasts they’re in. And read any books or articles they may have authored.
Become a People Person
The difference between great leaders and poor leaders comes down to having a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others. Think about the amazing bosses and managers you’ve had over the years. Compare them to the ones that made you want to quit your job. What characteristics made these two people so different? Though there are many reasons an employee may not get along with their boss, it usually comes down to the empathy, or lack thereof, that a superior has for others.
Practice becoming a better people person by being mindful of your verbal and nonverbal cues during interactions. Are you aware of your tone when talking to someone verbally or via text? Do you give others your undivided attention during conversations by keeping eye contact? Developing empathy starts with actively taking a genuine interest in others’ lives both professionally and personally.
Though being a great leader may come naturally to some, the best leaders are always learning new things and challenging what they think they already know. No matter where you are currently stand in your career or in life, putting a concentrated effort into these four areas of leadership will have you experiencing professional and personal growth in no time!
This guest post was authored by Brian Thomas
Brian is a Philly-native who enjoys researching the latest in business and tech trends. When he’s not writing as a regular contributor for Enlightened-Digital.com, he’s cycling different trails.