Great leadership is something not everyone is naturally good at, but being a leaders is a role that almost all of us will be forced into at some point in our careers.
Even if you have no aspirations to become CEO, you will probably still find yourself heading up teams, progressing to management, or getting your own staff and this can be daunting if you tend to shy away from taking charge.
The question you might have on your mind is whether leadership is something that you are born with, or something that you can learn. You might not have considered yourself a leader before, but now you’re in that position is it something you can ‘learn on the job’? Or are you destined to being a little insecure about it?
Well the answer, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. Certainly it is possible to be predisposed towards being a good leader, and some of us are seemingly born with traits that would make us naturally better at leading. But by the same token, we are also able to improve on existing traits through training, through our beliefs, and through learned strategies. A genetic predisposition can set you up, but it is the right environmental factors that will seal the deal.
But, as well as training and learning, there are other ways that we can build on our initial foundation. Here, we will look at how the right tools can help to give you more confidence and make you more capable at every level.
Books are one of the most powerful tools for improving your leadership capabilities and can provide a powerful resource that will teach you the best techniques and tips while also giving you some of the best strategies to employ.
It’s not just leadership books that can prove to be a great resource for leaders. Equally useful are books on subjects related to your field and your business. These are powerful because they give you answers, and in turn allow you to make decisions with confidence. Often the natural leader in a situation will be the person with the most knowledge on that topic. Turning to books is one of the very best ways to get that knowledge and to ensure that you don’t delay too long when making decisions.
Books can also help when they are aimed at improving your confidence or other traits that are conducive to leadership. The more you read, the more you will feel yourself developing.
2. Virtual Reality
This isn’t something for everyone, but if you have access to an Oculus Rift headset or are willing to fork out for one, then there is a great piece of software out there for leaders and speakers called ‘SimUSpeak‘. This will use the Oculus Rift’s uncanny sense of presence to make you feel as though you are on stage talking in front of a large audience.
From there, you will then be able to practice giving presentations and talks while ignoring the very real sense of being in front of a crowd and being nervous. This is a fantastic way to practice building confidence when it comes to performing in front of an audience without having to put yourself in that situation for real.
Now for something a bit more mainstream: Excel is an absolutely crucial tool that every leader and manager should have at their disposal and be confident in using. Of course, the most obvious way that Excel and spreadsheet software can be useful in leadership is for organizing. By using spreadsheets you can keep track of data and information, what your current budget is, and avoid any mistakes that can come from being disorganized.
But Excel also has a range of other uses. A great example being its use in decision making: by entering different options and their weighting you can then run a number of algorithms and calculations to look at which one makes the most logical sense. The more you get to know Excel and spreadsheets, the better you will be at handling data and information, and the more confidence your staff will have in you.
4. Projectors and Tablets
As a leader, you will need to communicate your ideas and current objectives to your team on a regular basis. Sometimes this can be hard to do with words alone, so when you need to really get a point across and captivate your audience it can help to use a projector.
This way you can take a bar chart or graph and project it onto the wall – immediately communicating things like profits or market share more eloquently than you could possibly accomplish with words.
5. Gym Membership
This one might sound odd, but leadership is partly about presence, about physicality and natural charisma. You strike a more imposing figure if you look fit and healthy, and if you can project your voice, then you will come across as more confident and people will be more inclined to want to follow you and listen to what you have to say.
Most importantly, if you look and feel good you will immediately become more confident and more assertive, which your staff will notice. All these things can be accomplished by going to the gym, which makes a membership one of the best things you can own to improve your ability to lead.
They say that clothes make the man or woman, and this is especially important when you’re in a leadership role. If you want to be taken seriously then you need to dress professionally, and you need to feel good about the way you look.
You might not realize it, but as a leader you will set the tone for your entire office. Just sharpening up your look can make a huge difference to the way that others perceive you, and the way that you feel in a leadership role.
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