In business, as in other aspects of life, there are those who lead and those who follow. However, these are not two mutually exclusive groups.
While many people are under the erroneous impression that leaders are born, not made, leadership qualities that make up a leader can be learned. This learning process can be one that a company creates to help employees grow to be leaders, but it can just as easily be done by individuals who want to make themselves into great leaders.
1. Be a Thinker
When most workers are assigned a task, they will simply do it, either to the best of their abilities or not. A leader will do more than this by carefully examining and analyzing the task. This is a matter of seeing how things can be done easier, cheaper, or maybe not need to be done at all.
But it is certainly not advisable to make this into a situation which seems like a challenge to the boss. It’s about offering further insights into the task, whatever they may be. This reveals a leader who has gone beyond what was expected to offer value to the company.
2. Take Control
The passive employee who waits for opportunities to lead will often have to wait forever. The boss in a company will rarely be as concerned about the careers of their employees as the employees themselves.
This means that employees who want to develop leadership skills should take proactive steps to ensure that they have the chance to do so. Those looking to grow as leaders should ask their boss or supervisor if there are tasks or needs in the company that they could address.
3. Handle the Orphan Jobs
There are often things in any business that are just not getting done. These orphaned tasks could be anything from creating a design for a new company logo to writing up customer satisfaction surveys for the company’s website.
Tasks that get put off for a later date often never get done and these are just the kinds of things that a leader would look for. Employees who volunteer for these jobs demonstrate that they are ready to move beyond assigned work and are willing to learn and do new things.
Many companies are stuck in the same old way of doing things. However, in the digital age it is vital for a company to keep abreast of the changes taking place around it and to adopt those changes that might help the company do its work better.
For example, if a company needs new ideas and markets to sell its products, this can be a major opportunity. By pushing the idea of reaching out to untapped markets, an employee can demonstrate the forward thinking and innovation that leaders require.
5. Ask Good Questions
No one knows everything, and those who pretend that they do usually trip themselves up at some point. In fact, one of the hallmarks of a good leader is the ability to put his ego aside and learn from those around him, even from those he manages.
Those who want to show they are leaders should be willing to draw on the knowledge and experience of those around them, since these people may have been at the company for much longer and have a far better understanding of how it operates.
6. Learn to Delegate
Learning to delegate goes hand in hand with the concept of asking good questions. Just as a leader should be willing to ask those around him for advice, he should also have the ability to delegate work to others.
This can be very difficult for those who are prone to micromanaging, but it is one of the vital leadership skills to have if the work load is going to get done, since the leader cannot do everything himself.
7. Motivate Others
Leaders are more than just decision makers. They should also be motivators, getting employees fired up to get the work done. This requires a good understanding of the of motivation. Although some people are motivated entirely by financial rewards, most are motivated by other means, such as the opportunity for advancement or recognition for a job well done.
8. Build Teamwork
Good leaders can assemble the right team to get a particular task done. This ability to make a disparate group act as a single unit to produce the desired result is one of the most important traits in any leader. For this subset of leadership skills, it is important to learn to evaluate people without bias.
This includes not only their work record but also how well they interact with others. It is important to keep in mind that a person who might not fit on a team performing one task might be a perfect match for a team doing something else.
Learning to be a leader is not a simple process, but it is doable. Even the most shy or timid individuals can rise to a leadership position if they commit themselves to acquiring the necessary leadership skills.
What Leadership Qualities Make a Great Leader?
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