Leadership is one of the most sought after characteristics in people because navigating our way through life without leaders would be nearly impossible. While leadership skills are
inherent in some people, these are also skills that can be developed and strengthened within all of us. Here are three simple ways you can begin developing the leader within you:
1. Show Respect
Respecting yourself is just as important as respecting others. People can sense the level of respect you have for yourself by how you respect your time, your profession, your responsibilities, your relationships, your ideas, your dress, and the way you present yourself. The level of respect for yourself that you demonstrate also subconsciously tells others how they should treat you. On the flip side, the level of respect you show to others is simply a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Just as success breeds success, respect breeds respect. When it comes to being a leader, increasing the level of respect you have for yourself and for others is the first critical step.
The next time your long-winded colleague attempts to keep you past the scheduled meeting time, kindly let them know you have to respect your calendar and your next meeting. You will find that eventually your colleagues learn to have more respect for your time simply because you yourself respect it.
2. Be Decisive
Leaders are those that are willing to make tough decisions in the face of adversity. While there is no such thing as a perfect decision, the act of deciding in and of itself is leadership and can help you begin to develop leadership skills. While the majority of people are content to sit by the wayside and wait for others to take the risk of making a decision that may not be the “right” one, you can develop your leadership skills by being decisive and then following up with action.
Remember that “done is better than perfect.” You can start by practicing with smaller decisions and work your way up. The next time you are with a group that can’t decide where to go for lunch, you be the one to decide. This may sound trivial, but you are building very valuable “decision muscles” that will strengthen as you use them. Others will begin looking up to you as a leader, and this will allow you to strengthen your “leadership muscles” even more.
3. Take Responsibility
Leadership cannot exist without responsibility. That’s why leaders are the most sought after humans on earth. Think about it for a minute. Oftentimes people choose to follow leaders because it’s a relief to not to have to take responsibility. After all, if the project fails, if the idea bombs, if the business goes bankrupt, or if the ship never makes it to land, you weren’t the one leading it, so “it’s not on you.” It’s not your head on the chopping block.
Taking responsibility is one of the most difficult things we must do as leaders, but it is also one of the most empowering gifts you can give to yourself as you develop leadership skills. Just as you are responsible for your failure, you are also responsible for your success. Those that are unwilling to take responsibility for their failure can never be fully responsible for their success either.
As a leader, you have to be comfortable owning up to your failures but also your successes. Oftentimes, in our insecurity, we continually beat ourselves up so that when we achieve success, we don’t fully give ourselves the kudos we deserve! Next time your colleague gives you a compliment on your latest project, don’t immediately give a knee-jerk reply and try to minimize it. Simply smile, say thank you, and realize that by doing this, you are giving others permission to own their failures and successes as well.
Ready to unleash the leader within you? Schedule a free consultation today, and discover what is holding you back.
To Your Success—