I know a number of my clients have set the goal of being a better leader so they can be more successful.
An important part of success in life is the ability to lead. It is important that we not only be able to lead others but be willing to lead ourselves. No one succeeds in life by simply following others. Sometimes we must strike a bold new path for ourselves.
Being a good leader is more than being at the top of the organizational chart. Too often, we think that leadership means sounding and looking the part; however, the real test is how we act.
While I’m sharing eight steps in this article, they are not intended to be sequential. Instead, think of these as actions as ones you must take on a regular basis, in any order and combination.
First, be alert to new opportunities. “Reality” is not absolute; it’s subject to constant change. Think about inventors, explorers, and agents of social change who have achieved greatness. Some might think that certain people are successful because they are lucky to be in the right place at the right time. This may be partially true; however, if they hadn’t had their eyes open for the opportunity, it wouldn’t have mattered if they were in the right place. Often I find these opportunities look like work and many people pass them by without a second thought. Be careful to speed past new work or you may miss a new opportunity.
Second, accept inspiration from wherever it comes; even your opponents. The wisest leaders constantly study their competition. In war, politics, and business, we see examples of this research and reconnaissance constantly. Too many times, many concentrate on finding a weakness to exploit. If you want to be a leader of positive change don’t fall victim to this trend. Instead, if you find a weakness, make sure to avoid that pitfall yourself and work to strengthen your own qualities.
Third, learn something new and promote it in new ways. This means you must continually seek to expand your horizons, internally and externally. Feed your mind with new lessons and knowledge, and expand your social horizons as well. Seek out and meet new people and immerse yourself in new social situations. You never know when these new experiences will help you in your leadership role.
Fourth, search for and find answers in subtle clues. Look beneath the surface and remain curious. This is an extension of the third step in that you are seeking new knowledge. However, this also means that you will need to step off the traditional paths of knowledge. Don’t simply read books on the bestsellers list. Take seminars rather than classes as there is more room for questioning and debate. Seek out unconventional thinkers, teachers, and writers.
Fifth, improvise if no existing solutions are available. Necessity is the mother of invention. How do you know it won’t work if you’ve never tried it before? Remember, not all approaches need to come from the front. Look at your problem from all sides and systematically attempt different solutions in various combinations.
Six, make at least one person you care about happy every day. If you make it a point to be thoughtful and caring for one person every day then soon this thoughtful, caring behavior will become a habit and that habit will spread to the others around you. Making someone else happy also feeds your own personal happiness. Just imagine how much better the world would be if we all did a little bit more to spread happiness.
Seven, offer help, even if there’s no apparent advantage to you. This means more than writing a check. It means giving of your time and energy and yourself. Sometimes it will mean helping someone you don’t know and sometimes it can be a very personal action.
Finally, never let negativity be your last word on the subject. If your final words are negative, then no matter how hopeful you may be about the potential of a project, the lasting impression you give to others is one of negativity. Accentuate the positive and you are more likely to see a positive outcome.
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If you’re working toward being a better leader, I would love to help you succeed this year. Click here and pick a time for us to talk.