There are two types of people in this world: leaders and followers. A vast majority is the latter and very few step up to be the former. You may think a leader is born that way, but the truth is, anyone can be a leader if they learn to think and act like one. Being a leader is more than appearing as the loudest person in the room. In fact, having an outgoing personality is not a prerequisite to being a good leader. In order to lead, a person must be able to communicate well, emit confidence in everything they say and do, and are successful in their own endeavours. How does one reach a level of great leadership? Here are three ways to start:
- Tackle a Task
Productivity is something most leaders inspire others to strive for. If a leader wants an employee, family member or friend to be productive, the leader must be a master in this area themselves. Every day is filled with new tasks that one can either complete or procrastinate and a leader does their best never to procrastinate. For instance, a college student can show leadership qualities by thinking of ways to complete an assignment so they are not panicking last minute. They will ask themselves the questions, “what should I do to write my essay on time?” and “what steps can I take to speed up my work?” If you need ideas for ways to be more productive, here are a few to consider:
- Write everything down. When your mind is cluttered with thoughts, it is more difficult to focus on the task at hand. Write anything from need to buy milk, call the plumber or pick Lucy up from soccer practice down on post-it notes.
- Make lists. A leader knows how to prioritize. Write everything you need to do in the next week, month or year. The high priority items should be at the top and crossed off first.
- Do it in chunks. When it comes to big projects, it is less overwhelming to break up the tasks. Do one thing at a time, then take a break. A leader doesn’t work hard, they work smart.
- Create Connections
When there is so much going on in your day to day life, it is easy to settle into a comfort zone. This greatly applies to relationships. A leader doesn’t focus on a small circle of friends; a leader consistently works to expand their network. The more people you know, the better. Networking is important because it introduces you to a wide variety of people with fresh ideas, valuable life experiences, shareable skills and exciting business opportunities. You never know what will happen from the connections you make, but the only way to find out is to make them. To create new connections, you can:
- Hang out with colleagues after work.
- Volunteer in the community.
- Join a club that represents an interest of yours.
- Attend office holiday parties.
- Join relevant associations.
- Attend a conference.
- Learn to Engage
It is one thing to meet someone and be added to their list of acquaintances, it is another to genuinely connect with someone and have them remember you. What sets apart a great leader from an average one is their ability to engage deeply with those they meet. This seems like a difficult thing to achieve, but it is really rather simple if you practice these foolproof methods.
- Remember names. Everyone wants to feel valued and a name is something of importance. When you remember a name and use it throughout conversation, that person will feel valued by you.
- Ask questions. A person feels more relaxed when they are able to talk about themselves and what they know.
- Smile. It is contagious after all. Give it a try and see if they smile back.
- Give encouragement. We all crave appreciation. By giving a little, in a genuine way, the person will be drawn to your praise.
No matter who you are, by following the above steps, you can start shaping yourself into the great leader you want to be. Leaders are consistently aware of the tasks at hand and how they can influence those around them. By thinking and acting the same, you too can be a great leader in every aspect of your life.