When you think of a leader, you may think of a high-level executive or the sole manager of a team. The leaders of teams, departments, companies, and even countries didn’t get there simply because they were born leaders or given the position by chance. Great leaders become successful because of small efforts that eventually turn into larger movements.
The definition of ‘leader’ is quite simple: it stands for“the person who leads or commands a group, organization, team, or country.” What’s more compelling are the synonyms for ‘leader’ — pioneer, front runner, innovator, trailblazer, pathfinder, one who inspires, guiding light, developer, discoverer, and initiator.
In other words, a true leader initiates, inspires, and paves a path for the team. While many leaders are at the top of the totem pole, leaders come in all shapes and sizes and don’t always hold a position of power.
Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or you currently hold a leadership position, there are things you can do every day to display great leadership qualities. Read on to discover our top tips on how to be a leader at any point in your career.
Share Your Knowledge
Great leaders become successful because they have an eagerness to learn. Even greater leaders will instill that passion in their teams, and encourage them to strive for greater knowledge.
Supply your team with new and useful information in the form of statistics, newsworthy articles, or tactics for improving productivity. Leaders should always invest in the team’s collective strength and knowledge because it’s the strength of the pack that always wins.
Lead With Your Example
The greatest display of leadership is often shown by setting a shining example. Think about how young animals learn how to not only survive but thrive in their environment. They learn by their adult parents showing them the way.
Successful leaders practice what they preach. If you critique an employee’s work but fail to apply the thought to your own tasks at hand, your team will notice and may become untrusting and resentful. Remember that leaders are always being observed, so be sure that your performance sets a great example for those around you.
Make Decisions and Commit to Them
Oftentimes in the workplace, there is no right or easy decision, and the best thing to do is to choose a path with confidence, even if there are pros and cons to your decision. A great leader weighs their options with timeliness, initiates action, and commits to the decision once it’s been made.
If a leader is unsure, insecure, wishy-washy, or regretful of decisions constantly, the team morale will take a toll until a better leader steps up. Great leaders are decisive, confident, and optimistic.
Be Accountable to Others
Successful leaders not only accept feedback but soak it in and strive to improve from it. By owning up to mistakes, not making excuses for mishaps, and fostering an open-door policy, a transparent and trusting team environment is born. It takes a high level of maturity and modesty to stay accountable, especially in a leadership position.
If you’re just starting out in your career, it’s inevitable that you will make a few mistakes. Apply this tip to your role by holding yourself accountable for your actions by acknowledging your mistakes, and ensuring that future situations have a better outcome. Great leaders aren’t perfect and apologize when necessary, and more importantly, take action to make improvements.
Be a Source of Empowerment
Perhaps the greatest tip for being a successful leader, on both large and small scales, is to empower others to be great.
Great leaders are inspiring, encouraging, and supportive. Build a strong team by giving them the confidence to make decisions, trust their instincts, and go boldly in the direction they believe in. Support and provide guidance when necessary, but remember that an empowered team is more likely to take ownership of their work and feel pride in their finished product.
This tip can easily be applied to fellow coworkers who ask for advice, or even to large department initiatives. A valued opinion translates directly into feeling valued entirely.
Be a Leader
With these tips, you can make strides towards being a respected source of guidance and inspiration. Remember that not all leaders are great leaders, and it’s more important to lead with integrity rather than power.