The best leaders never set out to lead, they set out to make a difference. Today’s leaders come in all different shapes and sizes. These truly standout leaders are quickly breaking their stereotypical molds. Today’s leader could be a mom in jeans, running three kids to day-care, and running her own business at home. He could be a barefoot traveler, taking awe-inspiring photos of places unknown and posting them to Instagram.
No matter who a leader is to you, they no doubt inspire those around them. As you look up to them, an effective leader empowers you to expand your creativity and develop your abilities. By instilling confidence, leaders wow not only through service but also with a gracious attitude.
It may be a tall order to fill but there are 7 ways to get you started on the Path to Leadership.
- Stay Honest When You Are Faced with Challenges
Every good leader has an even greater challenge. It’s what makes a leader so memorable in the eyes of his or her comrades. When you deal with challenges in an honest way, everyone around you will see your bravery. It’ll inspire those around you to act with that same integrity when faced with their own challenge. There is certainly no challenge too big or too small that cannot benefit from your own honesty and clear thoughts.
- Learn That There is More Than One Way to Build Trust
Leaders are trusted, not feared. When employees trust their leader, the work environment is more enthusiastic and creative. But there is always more than one way to build trust. Listening, talking, and offering advice are all fantastic way to build that trust. Keep your employees’ best interests in mind by working together to build an environment of trust and understanding.
- Respect Yourself and Your Limits
Like the saying goes, “You must love yourself before anyone else can,” leadership carries the same principle. You should first see yourself as a leader and build your confidence. Respect that leadership is learned, not born. You have your limits, but barriers can be broken and comfort zones should be stretched. Respect that inner leader inside you and know where you need to improve.
- Always Be Learning
Great leaders are not simply born overnight. A leader must learn always continue to learn. The best way to get started on this to make a list of key leaders you look up to. Ask yourself “why you admire this or that leader?” “What makes this leader different from the rest?” Many leaders have share similar qualities. All that you must do is emulate certain traits until they become habit in your own leadership abilities.
- Admit When You Make Mistakes
Although every leader should continually be learning, everyone makes mistakes. But true leaders admit their mistakes out in the open. Gaining both trust and respect, mistakes are a helpful tool in any learning process. When you truly digest a mistake, your brain understands how to correct itself. Mistakes are the building blocks to creating accountability.
- Deliver Results and Meet Deadlines
You may have to get up earlier than you want to. You may have to keep running even when you’re out of breath. You may have to grind out every last detail though it may be easier just to shrug off. But leaders are true to their words. Leaders deliver results when excuses may be an option. Leaders meet deadlines that are unreasonable. You may have to give more than you get in return right away, but a true leader does so without considering the alternative.
- You Have to Lead When No One Else is Following
Be a leader when no one else is looking. Be kind to those who were cruel to you. One of the hardest parts of being a leader is knowing that there is no one following. . . yet. But being a leader isn’t about how many followers you have or the appreciation you receive from leadership. Lead through example, even when the example won’t even be seen. Know that it’s not about the role, it’s about the goal.