8 Steps to Become a Great Leader

August 22, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Articles of the Day

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Being a leader is beyond having millions of rules and regulations for every member of your team; it is having an insightful grasp of the universal dynamics of your work place and team members. It requires your ability to have useful tools needed to understand the psychology of the workplace and concrete solutions to handle its constantly shifting equilibrium. Below are steps needed to become a leader, hope it inspires you to not only step out of the norm but become the very best in everything you do.

1. BE AWARE: It can be quite daunting and exciting working in any organisation, which sort of makes it easy for everyone to get so involved in what they do and achieving their goals thereby leaving less time to focus on anything else. As a leader, you must strive to go out of your own job, area of expertise, department etc. to familiarise yourself with what others are doing and how they go about achieving various milestones. Awareness is truly essential to surviving and thriving. Becoming aware is not about bossing others around but understanding what they do and constantly leading by example.

2. DEVELOP EMPHATHY: In The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey teaches, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This is definitely a ground rule for empathy. It is very easy at the workplace and in life for us to be judgmental towards others. We assume we know everything and go around questioning the decisions and results of other people’s works because they don’t fit into whatever box we have created in our minds. Becoming a leader requires that you consciously take time to look at things from other people’s perspective and only then should you make any conclusion.

3. LISTEN MORE: In this time and age it’s saddening that there are more people talking and fewer people listening. I usually say the reason God gave us two ears and just one mouth was because He wanted us to listen twice as much as we spoke. As a leader, you must seek to listen to the people you lead; as much as you have one million and one things you expect to get done. If the only thing you are very good at is disseminating countless instructions without actually listening to know what others feel and their feedback, it might be time to step back, keep shut and just listen. That might be all you really need to change that seemingly unconquerable problem you are facing.

4. BE EMOTIONALLY FIT: It is very important that you know that everyone you meet and would still meet have one major problem or the other. It really is unwise to go about taking out your feelings of anger, hatred, abandonment etc. on your team members. Emotional fitness is your ability to flexibly endure the ups and downs of business and life. The difference between managers and leaders is the way they react to and process the failed deals, the lost clients, and even the chaos they left behind at home. Becoming a leader means learning to have absolute control over your emotions. Our feelings are what turn into our behaviour and eventually become our lifestyle. Not only does being emotionally unstable affect you, it can influence the way the way you see, relate to and treat those you lead.

5. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: It amazes me how some people are experts at giving excuses. As a leader, while it might be super easy for your followers to go around giving excuses for what they did or didn’t do, you must remember that at the end you have to report to the management and believe me you do not want to walk into the meeting will a bucket full of excuses. The leader takes full responsibility for his actions and, by doing so, passes the message to those around him that they need to do the same. So becoming a leader means taking full responsibility when things go awry and giving due credit to the whole team when it goes great.

6. BE APPRECIATIVE: I’ve seen a lot of leaders fail at this, maybe because a lot of them are use to taking personal credit for ideas of those they lead, feel they are like the icing on the cake as the leader etc. But as a leader you must develop a culture of being appreciative of those you lead. When a team member goes out of his/her way to get something done, closes a deal, or just gets something done ahead of the targeted time, show appreciation. Being appreciative of your team members gives them confidence, and makes them feel valued and appreciated.

7. TAKE RISKS: Becoming a leader requires going out of the status quo. Believe me nobody wants a mediocre person as a leader, people want someone who challenges them to take extraordinary leaps whether in their career or personal life. Playing a big game doesn’t always feel natural or comfortable, but it’s a choice that true leaders make again and again. Most of us grew up conditioned to go with the train and to avoid disrupting our environment. We often keep ourselves from really being seen and being different. The problem here is that this encourages us to grow into very average adults who only feel comfortable when we’re playing small. Nothing rewarding can possibly exist in your comfort zone. Becoming a leader requires the willingness to wake up every day determined to step out of your comfort zone.

8. POSSESS EXTRAORDINARY DRIVE: A true leader does whatever is required to get the job done. If that means using the copier, running emergency errands, or assembling folders, that’s what the leader does, even if his paycheck and title suggest such jobs are “beneath” him. This approach not only guarantees that the work gets done; it also does wonders for the energy levels of the team. Becoming a leader requires paying attention to the unique brilliance of each employee on your team. If you see that people are exceptionally good at something, offer to take some work off their plate so you can free them up to make better use of their skill set. If you’re coming up blank on ideas for them, ask them what they’d like to do more of. They will respect you for getting your hands dirty, and they’ll appreciate you for making them feel seen and heard.