This is a guest article contributed by Sarah Loise from mymathdone.com.
A leadership is not one single quality that makes you stand out from the crowd. It’s a wide range of traits and skills that give you the power to manage big projects and execute successful policies. It’s a combination of raw instincts and practical experience.
If you want to become a genuine leader, it will definitely help if you are a natural talent. But what we want to show you in this article is that you can become a leader if you invest enough time and efforts in personal development. It’s not impossible – it’s just a matter of dedication and good strategy.
When you think about the most influential business people such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, you might notice that all of them have a certain set of qualities that make them so successful. That’s why we decided to analyze each one of those traits and present you the 25 most practical tips to become a true leader.
1. Have a vision
One thing is common to all leaders worldwide: they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve. You must follow your dreams and be determined to achieve them. At the same time, you have to transfer this way of thinking to your colleagues and team members. That’s the only way to expect big results in business.
2. Set precise goals
You have to support your vision with a group of clearly determined objectives. We suggest you set precise targets in all stages of your work and also to get your staff acquainted with your expectations. You will work as a team but you are the leader who has to give directions to his subordinates.
3. Get to know your team
A true leader is always aware of all actions taken by his workforce. However, you should also know the motives behind those activities. Get to meet your team and understand the personality of each member individually. This way, you’ll be able to approach them better and give them just the right kind of tasks to deal with.
4. Improve your weak spots
We’ve seen a lot of leaders who considered themselves as semi-gods and thought they were perfect. But it’s never the truth. You need to be ready to improve your weak spots at all times. The fact that you are the leader is exactly what makes this task even more important. Don’t slow down and keep evolving as a person and a professional.
5. Take responsibility
Leaders are not isolated and they have to work in groups, however small or large these may be. In this group, you will try to hear other opinions but you will be the one who has to take responsibility when it comes to big decisions. Don’t let anyone else interfere because decision-making is the thing that leaders do.
6. Stay updated
When you run a company or manage big projects, you cannot neglect the latest industry trends and stick to the obsolete methodology. Always stay updated and learn about the avant-garde ideas in your field of expertise. Hear what key opinion leaders have to say and try to take advantage of it in your own business.
7. Practice evidence-based thinking
For a long time, business people thought that they can rely solely on their instincts and make decisions this way. However, things have changed as industries evolved rapidly. In such circumstances, you as the leader need to practice evidence-based thinking. Always consult the latest data and analysis and be prepared to make estimations based on exact numbers.
8. Follow your intuition
This may seem like a completely opposite advice but it’s actually complementary with the previous one. We’ve participated in several situations when it has been impossible to predict the outcome relying only on numbers. Sometimes you just need to follow your intuition and seal the deal. That is what real leaders do well.
9. Encourage creativity
If you want your business to flourish, allow your team members to express their imagination and creativity. Brainstorming is a nice way to come up with the new ideas but you should be open to individual proposals all the time. You can never predict when somebody might think of a great idea, so encourage creativity and let it give additional fuel to the company.
10. Face the problem
You will be facing a lot of professional problems that give you a headache and some of them will be really annoying. However, leaders don’t give up and hide from their problems. Instead, they face all issues directly and find a way to overcome them.
11. Get angry
As a senior manager, you should boost collaboration and give people the freedom to think and express opinions. But a genuine leader knows when it’s the perfect time to get angry and speak his mind out loudly. We are not saying that you should mob the employees but sometimes they will need a little extra push to become more productive.
12. Be a role model
If you force the members of your team to work overtime, then you should also be ready to work overtime. If you want them to give you fresh ideas, then you should give twice as many. Show your team that you are at the front and that you don’t ask them to do the impossible. You are a role model and you want them to follow your leads.
13. Make a Plan B
Things don’t work out perfectly every time. It doesn’t mean, however, that you can panic and paralyze the entire work process. On the contrary, you should always prepare a Plan B just in case something goes wrong. And something usually goes wrong, so don’t allow to be caught off guard.
14. Reward employees
Good managers are not only skillful but also righteous. You should know when to praise or reward your employees. That is a huge personal satisfaction and it can give them additional encouragement to keep doing their best. Don’t be too generous in that regard but a small reward every now and then will serve the purpose.
Do you know a single leader who is fat and doesn’t pay attention to his body fitness? Neither do we. Leaders have a lot of work to do and they need to nurture both the physical and mental health. It’s not easy to keep the tempo, which is why you need to exercise regularly.
16. Don’t procrastinate
Lazy people drown in procrastination. Procrastination is the antipode of leadership. If you want to make big things in your career and manage large teams, you have to seize each day and keep the productivity on the highest level. In your case, there is no room for procrastination and you have to adopt zero tolerance toward this issue.
17. Grow network
Leaders are not loners who stay away from other people. On the contrary, they actually need to grow their professional networks and maintain relations with the peers. This way, they can follow industry trends much easier and also increase the potential to establish new partnerships in business.
18. Learn on mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes and so do leaders. But what makes you as the leader better than other people is that you learn from mistakes. And you don’t only find valuable conclusions in your own mistakes. You also see what other people do bad and try to avoid making the same kind of mistake in your business.
19. Stay positive
Every once in a while, you and your team will face a larger problem or suffer a small defeat. However, you as their role model have to stay positive. Make sure to nurture an optimistic viewpoint and encourage your teammates with a self-confident attitude. This is the best way to overcome difficulties and focus on new professional challenges.
20. Be direct
The only way to avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts with your staff members is to communicate directly and openly. Be honest and straightforward – it will eliminate distractions in work and you will never confuse your employees.
21. Ask for help
You are the leader but you are not almighty. There are many things that you know but people who specialize in one small field of expertise definitely have a bigger knowledge than you. Therefore, you should not feel ashamed of asking them to explain something or give you more details about the subject.
22. Learn internationally
There are many competitors in each business and you should always analyze their strategy and activities. However, if you want to go one step ahead of the competition, you should learn internationally. See what your partners in other countries are doing and find out how you could implement their methods of work locally.
23. Take a break
No one can function properly without a decent break. Make a pause throughout the day to regain your strength and freshen up a little. Get enough sleep each night and enjoy your weekends. Don’t avoid your annual vacation and holidays. Sometimes you will feel like it’s a waste of time but it will keep you energized in the long run.
24. Be humble
As the team leader, you have many benefits and privileges but you should stay humble nevertheless. Keep in mind that you started from the scratch and that your colleagues are in the same position where you used to be a long time ago.
25. Work hard
We said it before but we are telling you once again that genuine leaders work hard. You need to be the first to come to the office and the last one to leave it. It’s not easy but that’s what the leadership is all about.
Leaders are not born. They are raised, trained, and educated. If you want to control things in your personal and professional life, you must dedicate enough time to this mission. Follow our 25 tips and you will become a genuine leader. And you can thank us later.
About The Author:
Sarah is a member of the mymathdone.com team, which is in charge of content creation and website maintenance. Also she uses her in-depth knowledge of commercial legal matter, commercial off-the-shelf systems, marketing and engineering in business consulting for young entrepreneurs.