Are you cut out to be a leader?
Many people think they don’t have what it takes. That they don’t have the qualities needed to hold a leadership position. But leadership isn’t some grand vision to be attained. Being a leader is not just a title that Nelson Mandela or Gandhi were able to use.
We believe leadership qualities are something we all have.
Embarking on the leadership journey
Have you ever given somebody advice and were told that it was good, helpful advice? Or, are you always the organiser of your family or group? Do you get things done? If so, you’re already showing some capacity for leadership.
Becoming a leader is a journey. It’s not a destination that you immediately arrive at; it takes practice and refinement. So don’t think it’s something you have to be able to do from day one.
The best leaders we’ve seen are those who keep working on that process. They either continue to work on themselves or on their team, or both. They have goals and move forward.
Many people we’ve coached told us they focus too much on the details and become myopic when it comes to their team and the task in front of them. Good leaders look out and up. So think about how you can do the same.
Developing your people leader skills
As we said, we believe we all have leadership qualities and the ability to lead, it just takes practice. Leadership isn’t a job title or a role, it’s a quality.
One thing you must do as a people leader is to find ways to work better or more effectively together. Having open and honest conversations is the way forward. You don’t actually have to be in a leadership or management role already to start creating those interconnections.
One team we worked with had team members who were highly competent in Excel spreadsheets so they ran a mini workshop for other teams they would work with. Not only did it show a collaborative approach, but it was showed real leadership skills to take on that process.
Crystal clear leadership
Another way to know whether you’re cut out to be a leader is if you enjoy developing other people. Have you enjoyed seeing that "Aha" moment on somebody's face when you're working with them on a problem? If that's you, then yes, you’re cut out to be a leader.
Being able to articulate your vision and get everyone else on the team invested in your goals is another great quality of a leader. You need to be crystal clear on the objectives and check in with each member of your team to make sure they understand. Don’t assume they do.
One of the things I (Michelle) tell each member of a team to do is to ask themselves before speaking, “Why am I sharing this? Why am I going to speak in this team meeting?” Is it to share information? Is it to keep everybody in the loop? Is it to big note myself? Just be clear about what it is before you start to speak because then you know the purpose of your communication. Even better, get into the habit of saying upfront, “I’m sharing this because…”
Follow your energy
Going back to our original question: “Are you cut out to be a leader?” The answer is yes. Everyone has the capacity to be a leader. It's just a matter of focusing on particular areas and putting in the work.
A good place to start is with developing yourself. Keep a journal or try being mindful and present.
And if you feel excitement or even feel scared when you think about being a leader, it means there’s energy there. Follow that energy. The world needs more kind effective, competent, trusted leaders.
In summary, if you’re looking to move into a leadership position, spend time working on these four skills: the ability to motivate others, collaborative working, clear communication and self-development.
If you're a new or emerging leader, or if you have new or emerging leaders reporting to you, we invite you to take a look at our new Leadership Essentials Program.
Becoming a leader is a journey. It’s not a destination that you immediately arrive at; it takes practice and refinement. So don’t think it’s something you have to be able to do from day one. #PeopleLeaders #Leadership #Business