As we journey through life, becoming a better leader grows into more of an essential part of our development. Not only is it important, but we began to realize that we need leadership skills to gain success in almost every area of our lives. We have to lead our families, in our careers and we even have to learn how to lead our personal lives.
Without this skill set, we find ourselves overcommitting, overpromising and stressed due to a lack of time management. We find that people have all types of personalities and do not respect one another as much as we may have initially hoped. We struggle to maintain a good relationship with people in the workplace and even at home.
We are usually excited about a new job promotion, the joy of having children, the moment we say “I DO” or the opportunity to lead a worthy cause, but there is only a matter of time before we realize being a “good” leader is not enough. We need to be an “amazing” leader.
This is why I have highlighted 7 Steps that will Help Anybody Transform from “Good” to “Amazing”:
- The very first step to being an amazing leader is Confidence.
This may seem obvious and you may or may not feel you are a confident person, but when faced with new challenges or different types of people our Confidence may be stretched. There have been many situations I have had to grow in confidence whereas my skill or educational level felt low on the onset. How can you be Confident no matter what?
- You know your value- If your value does not come from your new circle or other people, it remains the same in every situation. When your value stems from your relationship with GOD and you know His unconditional love for you; your Confidence becomes higher than this world’s conditions. You maximize your ability to love yourself and know you are immeasurably loved for who you are, not what you do.
- You know how to communicate your value to others- When you can confidently express your unconditional value to others, it instantly improves your ability to lead with assurance. It is important that you know who you are and what you add to any team (as a leader or partner). When you can outline your strengths and offer them to the team, it enhances your validity to others. You can do this through an initial interview or day-to-day conversations. This is Not cockiness, it is confidence and it is true regardless of your age, ethnicity or sex.
- You don’t let other people shift your identity- When you have been told who you are, know who you are and see your goals, no one can remove you from your inherent purpose. Don’t let other people shift your identity. This is called Integrity. Write down your value and the elements that you are not willing to compromise. This is who you are. When under pressure or challenged by others, determine not to change these aspects of your character to fit into a common mold. We all know that just because someone else is doing something doesn’t mean that’s what we need to do.
- You will also need to be a Go Getter if you want to lead your own life and lead others. Regardless of your personality, you can GO GET what is meaningful to you. The secret to successfully becoming a person of passionate pursuit is to find your passion. When you know what you love to do, that desire will drive you beyond your weaknesses and sometimes character flaws. We are willing to GO GET what we really want and what we have given a High Value to in our hearts.
- Do You Know What You Want? Having a Clear Vision and Write It will help you begin the steps to leading your own life. Without a clear Life Vision, it is very hard to accomplish your goals because you do not know where you are going. You can’t chase after something that does not exist and you may find yourself falling into everyone else’s vision for you. Once you write down your own vision, you can help others who fall into that vision obtain their goals as well. You will also be better equipped to lead others under your direction.
- Set Practical Goals towards Your Final Vision- When you know your overall vision, you can begin creating stepping stones towards your final destination. These should be very practical and measurable. For example, instead of saying that the steps towards being a better mother are loving your children; you can say, the steps towards becoming a greater example as a mother are to model forgiveness through verbal apology.
- Surround Yourself with people that will help you GO GET your goals- There are people already designed to help you obtain your written goals. Once you know what your vision is and have written clear, measurable goals you can more easily see the people already in your life who fall into the right categories of helping you realize your dreams. When you meet new people you will also be able to see how you can work together to see one another’s visions accomplished. Focus on these people, avoiding the distraction to focus on people who drain your attention from your goals.
- Go Get It- This sounds simple, but the last step is to actually do it; give yourself a weekly challenge to “GO GET” the goals you have designed for your life.
- Flexibility is also very important in developing leadership skills. There will be times your plan does not work out the way you desire, but this is not when we should quit. Instead, re-plan until you find a way to “make it work.” When others see you fall apart, quit or get too discouraged, it can kill the team moral you desire. Practice positive self talk and get out of the past; then, Move On with your New Plan.
- In a perfect world everyone goes to work at 9, gets off at 5 and all your employees show up in time. Everything gets done on time in this foolproof existence, but in reality everything doesn’t go that way. If you stay stuck with one plan, you will be easily discouraged. Learning to adjust to change is paramount.
- Be able to change your schedule without notice. Even if you are an avid planner, like me, opportunity, emergency and crisis among other aspects of life are unpredictable. When this occurs, be flexible enough to quickly adjust your schedule by having a rolling schedule on your desk, phone or tablet. A quick look at your original plan can help you make sure you don’t miss any previous goals when sudden changes occur.
- Be able to make decisions on the fly. This is a great sign of a wonderful leader. Fear creates indecisiveness but sometimes we have to step out by faith in making decisions. We do not know the turn out of our decision and sometimes we may not be 100% confident in what we should do, but it is easier to follow a person who can take a risk than an insecure leader.
- True Leaders live by this principle- The Greatest Leaders are the Greatest Servants. When people see that you lead by putting their needs before your own, they will follow you with all of their heart. Not many people enjoy being bossed around when they are not even sure if you care about their personhood. Basic respect and a high value for other people’s needs will help build the trust needed for others to “willingly” follow you.
- The greatest leaders are the greatest servants. Great leaders understand the importance of service. Giving of your time, energy, experience, and heart will help you see and meet the needs of those on your team. Genuinely caring about what they are going through goes a long way.
- Always know the people’s needs and be willing to meet them. When you have a team, whether it be your family or in your career- how can you discover and meet the needs of the people on your “team”? Observation is the first step. Watch and Listen to each person’s desires, complaints and needs. You can even conduct surveys in certain settings or ask questions to get more insight.
- Challenge yourself to serve in ways you don’t have to whenever possible- take out the trash, clean your own office, say hello to all your staff, bring snacks to work, help your children with their homework, surprise your wife with a date. You don’t have to do any of these tasks, but when you help someone in an area they have need in, it will come back to you in your areas of need. They will also see your example, creating a culture.
- Do community service outside of the workplace- be well rounded- volunteer at a local shelter, feed the homeless or volunteer at a school.
- Leading by Example is what I identify in many of my teachings as “Modeling.” It is my belief that Modeling is sometimes greater than what you verbalize to others. When you are a leader, like it or not, people Watch Your Every Move. This is not to add pressure, but to add awareness. Being consistent and true to your values will help you better lead by example. And when you mess up, fess up- this will ensure your integrity/trust level is maintained.
- Whatever you tell others to do, be willing to do yourself. If you cannot see yourself staying at work until 11pm, consider your staff’s family-work life balance and end at an earlier time. If you cannot see yourself cleaning the entire house on a Saturday morning, then consider giving your children chore time at in smaller shifts. Let’s follow the Golden Rule in being better leaders: Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
- Be on time. Modeling timeliness screams Respect. You are respecting other people’s time. You are valuing who they are and what they do by being timely. When behind schedule over-communicating is key to keeping a strong reputation.
- Follow a schedule. Staying on a schedule that works for you and balancing your time will help others see their need to increase their time management as well. They will be challenged by your orderliness and see their need as they follow you.
- Dress the part & Follow the rules- even if you made them. Sometimes we make rules then struggle to keep them, at least I do. But when we commit to following our own rules, keeping our own standards and dressing the way we have asked others to dress our consistency communicates that we are not hypocritical nor do we have double standards.
- The Lost Art of Compassion. We have in many ways loss our sense of compassion as a culture but we can intentionally lead in being more empathetic. Compassion has to do with feeling what others may be experiencing. Although this may not seem very important at all times, it is key to creating a wonderful customer or family atmosphere.
- Customer service is all about compassion- people can feel when you honestly care and when you’re just doing your job. Have you ever entered into a fast food restaurant and been yelled at over the loud speaker? Did you feel like the person on the other side of the intercom was annoyed by your presence in the drive through? Or maybe you have been to an establishment like Chic-Fil-A, greeted with a happy voice and told “My Pleasure.” The first experience was daunting, the second incredible. The missing element was Compassion.
- Think about how you would feel if a leader told you to do something in a negative tonality or raising their voice. I am definitely guilty of leading with the wrong tonality from time to time, whether at home or work- the same principle applies. I must be sensitive to not only what I say, but how I say it if I want people to happily fulfil a desire of mine- even if they are a paid worker/obligated to follow my lead.
- Always be gentle and kind, even when being assertive. Keep everyone’s best interest in mind. Sometimes tough love is necessary, but always make sure it’s rooted out of love.
- The final step to being an Amazing Leader, is Excellence. Excelling above and beyond requirements or expectations is key to leading others. People want to follow those who have proven to Really Care about their role. How can you excel at home, in your personal life or at work? How can you go Above and Beyond what others expect of you, simply because this is who you have determined to be?
- Do your best all the time, even when it hurts. Sometimes it really hurts to meet basic expectations, let alone going above and beyond the required tasks. But if we want to be treated as leaders, if we want to be highly regarded, we must push a little bit harder at what we do.
- Cross every “T” and dot every “I”, when you don’t have to- do it. When you want to cut corners, challenge yourself to go the hard way instead. This is accomplished by practicing in the moments of decision, over and over again until this is a habit.
- Keep your work environment and business office/facility clean. Keeping your surroundings immaculate communicates your expectations for yourself and others.
- Remove all excuses for mediocrity and replace those excuses with clear tasks to overcoming weaknesses. Instead of trying to be perfect, find ways to be better. Then find people to help with your weaknesses. You may not ever be the “best” at an area of weakness but you can delegate that area to someone who possesses it as a strength.
It has been a true joy helping you learn some of the lessons I have gained in being an Amazing Leader. These 7 steps, when actively applied, will have you well on your way to people cheerfully following you at home, you feeling more in control of your own life and developing happy followers at work.
You will have less and less problems with the gap between your integrity (who you show you are) and your verbal promises (who you say you are) causing others to grow in trust that you are the leader they are proud to accompany.