Some people are natural-born leaders and really shine in positions of power. But, even though their journey to leadership is somewhat smoother, that doesn’t mean you wake up one day in charge of a Fortune 500 company without making any effort whatsoever. A true leader is not someone who issues commands and people listen obediently to them without asking questions. The journey to leadership can take decades and during all this time you have to constantly learn, hone your inborn skills and awaken the leader in you by practicing healthy management habits and inspiring those around you. In psychology terms, the leader, or “The Commander” is an ENTJ personality type – confident, charismatic, rational and determined; someone like Margaret Thatcher, Steve Jobs or Franklyn D. Roosevelt. These are all famous figures that sound intimidating, so how can you rise to their level? Well, first of all, a great leader doesn’t necessarily have to change history or become a celebrity. Even a leader who is in charge of a small team can influence the lives of those around them and help them grown professionally and personally. Here’s how:
Leaders are team players
Contrary to popular belief, leaders aren’t solitary individuals that followers naturally gravitate towards. They are empathic, nurturing people who are in charge of a team, so a self-centered approach is actually the complete opposite of what a great leader should be. As a leader, you’re not in a direct competition with your team and you’re not there to outshine them. You are there to help form a cohesive team, to bring out the best in everyone and give them tasks that they are good at. A leader is as strong as his team, so you need to have conflict resolution skills and take an interest in what others have to say. A true leader doesn’t forbid others from expressing their opinions and it most certainly doesn’t discard them. On the contrary; he actively listens to suggestions and doesn’t feel threatened by complaints. Instead, he sees them as an opportunity to better understand the team and obtain better results.
Leaders are honest
As human beings, the desire to be liked is embedded into our genetic code. But when you’re in a leadership position, hiding the truth and sugar coating your feedback so as not to offend or come across as the bad cop can actually do more harm than good – both for you and the team. Instead, leaders have to be confident and speak their mind, even if that means raising a few eyebrows. It’s one of the toughest lessons to learn about being a leader and it can take quite a while to build this kind of confidence. However, leadership coaches warn, leaders shouldn’t confuse honesty with rudeness. Being in a position of authority is not a free ticket to offending others and destroying their confidence. Being honest as a leader means giving transparent, but constructive feedback. It does not exclude being polite or considering other people’s feelings. Even if telling the truth can be uncomfortable at first, in the long run, it helps the team grow. According to a 2014 survey, team members associate honest leaders with moral integrity and reliability and are more likely to show improved performance under their leadership.
Leaders never stop learning
A good leader exudes confidence and charisma. They have an electric presence, are fully aware of their power and are not afraid to use it. However, displaying confidence should not be confused with being arrogant and thinking you are an all-knowing authority. In fact, leadership coaches explain, humility is a trait that managers should learn more often and that makes the difference between a boss and a leader. A leader is not afraid to admit when they are wrong and are dedicated to learning continuously, from other leaders or even from their own team. Leadership coaches insist on the importance of regular leadership training and you can visit the site to find out how they help you improve your skills and be the best version of yourself.
Failure is part of the process
We can all accept the fact that no one is perfect that it’s impossible to be successful in all of your endeavors, but for leaders, failure doesn’t come easy and a small bump at the beginning of the road can feel very disheartening. However, that should not stop you from persevering. Unfortunately, there are many cases of great leaders who quit after their first entrepreneurship idea because they couldn’t handle the public pressure, but this is one of the things you need to get used to. People will talk about leaders and make them responsible for failures even if they weren’t behind them, but a determined leader will see failure as an opportunity to learn, not as an excuse to quit.