Leaders are made - and the whole process starts inside the most uncharted territory you’ll ever encounter – your own mind.
How can you become an effective leader who inspires others, drives people toward excellence, holds people accountable, and instills a sense of trust? Learning what makes a strong leader is your first step.
You can become the leader that you have always wanted to be by following these 5 simple guidelines:
1. Control yourself. Every great leader in history has had to become the master of self-discipline and willpower in order to stay focused on the big picture. If you don’t have a goal or the all-consuming drive to achieve it, you can’t help others attain theirs.
· Follow through in everything you do. As challenging as it may seem, you need to be wherever you need to be, when you need to be there, whether you want to or not. By being resolute in attacking your goals and resisting the temptation to quit when the going gets tough, you will be setting a strong example that others will follow.
· Choose your emotional response to a situation carefully. In order to set a good example, sometimes you’ll need to practice the fine art of silencing your inner dialogue when it is ill advised.
2. Project your goals. Before the people you lead can fully embrace your vision or work ethic, they need to understand the deeper meaning of their work. By communicating with your team every step of the way, you can ensure that they are on the same page and know what you expect from them.
· Involve your team members in the planning process. In order to give everyone a greater sense of ownership in the end result, you must get them involved in the planning process and implementation of your ideas.
3. Praise highly and criticize constructively. Your ability to lead others effectively will directly correlate with the way you praise and criticize others.
· Make certain that you publicly praise those that do excellent work for you. You will gift them with a greater sense of accomplishment and the desire to do even better.
· However, when someone does something wrong, privately offer constructive criticism. This is key. Suggest ways that they can improve and take the time to answer any questions. Your people will be more inclined to accept your input if they know it is given to help and not harm.
4. Know your people. You can’t truly lead your tribe unless you actually understand their dreams, desires, pains, struggles and goals. If you don’t have a true awareness of the people you are working with, all the good intentions in the world are for naught.
· Talk to your team and get to know them. By getting to know each other personally, you will strengthen the bond between you. You’ll become more than just a “boss” and they will want to do more for you.
· Be their leader, first, and their friend second. You are the leader and from time to time you will have to make the tough call. These decisions must not be influenced by personal relationships.
5. Make the hard call. There will be times when you have to bite the bullet and make some unpleasant decisions. Holding people accountable for their actions, demotions and firings can be difficult at times. As their leader, it is your responsibility to handle these matters.
No matter where your leadership role takes you, believe that you can be a great leader. Remember - in order to lead others, you must discipline yourself. After all, your actions will speak louder than your words.
In order to gain the respect of others, strive mightily to lead by example in every area of your life.
When you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great leader.
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