Regardless of where you are on the career ladder, there will be a point when you’re handed a leadership role and be expected to hit the ground running. Maybe you’re aiming to lead an initiative, been chosen to lead a team project, or given the opportunity to apply for a management position.
Some people are natural leaders, but anyone can develop the skill set needed with some practice. If you want to take your career as far as it can go, then you have to be willing to put in the work.
Take the time to share your vision, your mission and your goals with your team. Your job as a leader is to provide a clear path that your team can follow. Your team also must understand why the goals you have set are valuable to them. Take the time to explain to them, in detail, why and how your vision will not only improve the business, but how it will benefit them in return. Include your team in your strategic planning sessions, ask for feedback and get them to “buy into” your vision for the future of the company.
Show those around you exactly what you’d like to see them do. Don’t waver on this. People respect someone who walks the walk. The research supports the power of the role model; idealized influence is one of the core characteristics of transformational leaders. The fastest way to improve your team is to model the right behaviors for them through your own leadership skills.
Sometimes to be a good leader, you first have to be a good team member. This allows you to see the methods of other leaders and learn what makes you feel like a valued team member and take these traits and use them the next time you act as leader. In addition, being a team member also gives you the perspective that you need to command your teams effectively. Following once and a while also shows the people that you are working with that you don’t have to be in control all the time.
They will respect that you can listen to others’ ideas and handle taking commands as well as giving them.
A great way to develop your leadership skills is to take on more responsibility. You don't have to take on more than you can handle, but you do need to do more than simply what's covered in your job description if you want to grow. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way you will learn anything new, and doing so will get you noticed by executives as someone who takes initiative.
Communicational skills are also an imperative for successful leaders. The first step is being fully transparent with employees and letting them know exactly where the company stands and where they stand. Be yourself and don't put on a mask. People will recognize whether you are being genuine or not. Your employees need as much information as possible to help you reach your company's goals. Holding back that information can only cause problems down the road.
The greatest leaders are those who include everyone in their sphere of influence by recognizing each person’s greatest value. To be one of these leaders, look beyond the obvious and see others with insight and compassion. Many of history’s greatest leaders have admitted that they rose to the top because another leader recognized and harnessed their potential.
Great leaders demonstrate effective leadership skills, but most importantly, continue to improve themselves in every possible way. The person who thinks he is an expert, has a lot more to learn. Never stop learning. Be receptive to everyone’s perceptions and information from around the world and beyond. Always grow and learn.
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