You can be an amazing leader. You just have to start somewhere.
The world is always in high demand of leaders. Leaders get rewarded very well and are cherished by their supporters. A leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and who rallies people to move toward a better vision. Effective leadership skills involve listening, communicating, and supporting other people.
Just being able to motivate people isn’t enough — leaders need to be empathetic and connect with people to be successful in life.
Table of contents
- Be Passionate and Bring the Energy
- Operate with a High EQ
- Join a Team and Serve Your Best
- Be a Role Model
- Show up Every Day
You CAN be an awesome leader and developing this skill is very fulfilling; people will come to you for advice on your expertise and will ask for your guidance.
To influence other people, you will need to be solid in your personal development first. If you want to become a better leader, here are 5 lessons I have learned while sharpening the skill and action steps to get results today:
1. Be Passionate and Bring the Energy
Your passion can be felt in everything you do. How we do anything is how we do everything.
For this reason, we should do everything with enthusiasm even if the task is boring.
There are subtle clues such as your tone of voice and your body language that show your conviction as a leader.
When you have passion, people can feel it. When you live with enthusiasm and share that passion with others, it can change the energy level and motivation for accomplishing tasks.
Be excited about life and the challenges that come with it because they make you better. When your energy is positive and contagious, people will be attracted to you and more apt to listen to you and follow you.
When you are dull, that rubs off and no one wants to be around you. So bring the energy!
Action steps: Hone into your why: why you are alive and why you want to be a leader in your career. Invoke your passion.
2. Operate with a High EQ
To be an effective leader, you need to understand how people are feeling emotionally. It also helps to understand what drives them.
If you are collaborating, what are their strengths and weaknesses? These are related to emotional intelligence:
Emotional intelligence (sometimes referred to as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
Check out this blog post I wrote about Emotional Intelligence and how to positively interact with others.
A great book for dealing with people constructively and polishing your EQ is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Use emotional intelligence to create win-win scenarios for those you are trying to influence. Treat people how they want to be treated and operate with integrity. Be unselfish in your actions.
Align your goals with those you are wanting to influence and hear what they are saying from their point of view and understand, whether you agree or not. Leaders do not bash others but find common ground. High EQ is one of the most rewarding and effective leadership skills.
Action steps: Read a book about Emotional Intelligence and start thinking and doing in terms of other people.
3. Join a Team and Serve Your Best
The best leaders learn how to serve others on the ground level first. Great service eventually gets noticed and leaders are offered bigger opportunities.
If you are centered on service and the advancement of the group rather than personal advancement then people will feel that energy and rally around you.
One of the best moments where I developed my leadership was the time I was in orientation for Quest Trust and I was in a group of new hires. We were in a probation period to get a full-time position. New hires had to pass an oral exam on company policies and exemplify leadership in their department.
I carried myself with confidence. I studied and tried to be the best. Naturally, the other new hires looked to me because of how I carried myself. Over time I developed my own set of effective leadership skills.
I wanted to be a leader and I identified as one. I gave the group my cliff notes after spending extensive hours studying and they were appreciative of that service. So leadership begins with service.
People will pay attention to how you carry yourself in a group setting. Are you selfless and are you trying to bring the team forward collectively?
This is what leaders need to do. Highly effective leadership skills are built over time with practice and repetition.
Action steps: Find some teams and groups you can join today. Consider Facebook Groups or Meetup to expand your circle and meet new people. 21st century leadership skills are the same as in previous centuries except we can lead VIRTUALLY these days and have an influence that spans beyond our geographic location.
If you are already a part of a group, then make it your mission to be more impactful in that group right now. Volunteer to take on more responsibility. Answer questions that others have. Develop your research skills.
4. Be a Role Model
A role model is someone who walks before talking. They teach by doing. Role models are also honest about their strengths and weaknesses too.
It starts with believing in other people and this may be difficult if you don’t believe in yourself first. You must be resilient in your self-development and have a purpose in life to be effective, something bigger than just paying the bills or getting the job done.
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes and I don’t know if I naturally had the skill but I wanted to be better. I would listen to tapes by Zig Ziglar and Jim Rohn until I memorized the messages and started to believe in myself. Those tapes told me that life’s natural pull is toward mediocrity and if I wanted to be excellent then I would need to improve myself.
Support those you interact with and believe in them. Give them a reason and inspiration to improve. Lead by example.
One of the best leadership experiences I had was in Toastmasters, a group for public speaking and leadership development. I was a member for around three months when a mentor of mine suggested I apply for an officer role. He told me I would be a good fit as the Vice President of Membership (VPM) who is responsible for marketing and attracting new members. Effective leadership skills are developed and not necessarily learned through books but through application and feedback and improvement.
At the time I was still in school and honestly very afraid of the responsibilities this position would put on me.
Fortunately, he was already the VPM and he gave me all his notes which made it so easy to follow his model. He set a great example of expectations and rather than bossing me around, he led by example and helped me get back on if I lost direction.
Consider being a mentor to someone else and giving your time and knowledge for their development. You do not have to be an expert or super successful to reach your hand and help someone up via mentorship.
Action steps: Join Toastmasters or join any group and become a servant of that group. Help out wherever you can. Become a mentor to someone.
5. Show up Every Day
Real leaders do not get discouraged by circumstances. They make the effort to show up when challenges arise and average people fold.
Show up as a superhero to motivate people and DO what you need to do to set a clear example of what is expected. You cannot force someone to do anything, they have to want to do it themselves and must believe doing it will help them get to where they want to go.
Own up to it and do not shy away from your leadership journey: this world is always looking for leaders. A leader is needed today and one will always be needed tomorrow as long as society exists.
Do not hold back from your greatest self. Being a leader will require you to step out of your comfort zone but listen to your gut. If you know you are capable of more, then go for it.
What can I do today to develop my effective leadership skills?
Action steps: Get to it. Prioritize what you need to do, learn how to become a better communicator, and apply this knowledge to become a better leader. Effective leadership skills involve professionalism and being punctual too. Leaders have to be up early and stay up late to set a great example.
21st century leadership skills include:
I hope you can advance in your career or life with this wisdom and apply these skills. Be aware and conscious because other people are watching for your lead. Be purposeful in your actions.
Thanks for reading, please let me know what you think with a Response.