When you want to be a good leader (not just a manager or a good employee), education will, unfortunately, not take you very far. Even if you come from the best business school, nothing can replace regular, hands-on training and experience.
Some people consider that leaders are just ‘born’ that way. While attitude and aptitude inherited through genes do play a part, it is the hard work in real-life situations that polish those inherent skills and turn you into a successful leader.
So leadership can actually be learned and developed by dealing with the ups and downs of daily life, irrespective of your industry. Great leaders don’t just rely on their genes or good fortune; they diligently practice some fundamental skills that keep them sharp and ahead of others.
If you have a passion for leadership and are confident in your abilities, there are six fundamental skills you should practice and follow throughout your life. Extensive research at the best business schools indicate that proficiency in leadership is not gained in the classroom; rather outside it, in the real world.
In the cut-throat world of corporate competitiveness, your only true friend is you yourself and your own confidence. Never hold yourself back even when the situation is really bad. Often, pure confidence can win the day for you when you are cornered.
Along with confidence comes the right attitude. Let your confidence show through the way you interact with others, both verbally and non-verbally. This does not mean you become dictatorial but rather a person who is sure of himself and whom others look up to.
The right body language is an important skill of a true leader.
Confidence is something you are usually born with but you need to cultivate it in order to make the most of this natural gift. Along with confidence, practice on your communication skills and general body language if you want to be respected as a leader.
Successful leaders always have a set of well-organized goals and stay focused on it, no matter the situation. They are more involved with the larger picture rather than short-term losses or gain.
Although they are prudent and flexible enough to adapt to short-term challenges, they never lose sight of the ultimate goal. Losing your focus and getting confused or influenced by different situations is certainly not the sign of a good leader.
The aim of a leader is to continuously strategies, ideate and innovate so as to stay a step ahead of others and reach the ultimate goal successfully. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a departmental manager or the CEO of a large organization, never lose sight of where you want to see your organization in the next five or ten years. Remaining focused is one of the prime skills of a successful leader.
Always be honest both to yourself and to others you deal with. Honesty and integrity are the foundations of large organizations that have grown through the decades to become leaders in their industry.
You can be honest to yourself only when you accept real-life situations instead of avoiding them or having false notions about dealing with them. Deep within your mind, you know that your plans will not work and you are staring at failure. However, accepting the fact can open up new perspectives and you may think differently, which can ultimately pull you out.
Being honest to customers is obviously indispensable when you want your business to be one of the best in its own sector.
Being honest to your employees sets the ethical code of conduct in your organization. When employees see you as an honest person who does not support shady deals or encourage dishonesty as a short-term solution, they appreciate your core values and follow the same.
How you behave in the office has a huge influence on those who work under you. Great leaders always stay positive even in the worst of situations. Their abundant energy and positivity influences others to rise above themselves that can propel the company forward.
Negative thoughts pull down others too. As a leader, being positive irrespective of the circumstances, is a skill you must cultivate.
Decisiveness is another vital trait of a successful leader. There will be times when difficult decisions need to be taken in the larger interest of the organization. Along with confidence, being decisive can make all the difference between overcoming turbulent times and sinking under pressure.
Having the ability to take a firm decision will not make you popular with everybody at that particular moment. However, when they see the result of your prudence and judgment later on, their respect for you as a leader will definitely increase.
Decisiveness is one of the prime factors that sets leaders apart from others. As a leader, the onus lies on you to steer the organization in the right direction. So taking the right decision at the right time is something you should definitely practice.
Be an Inspiration
People look up to the leader all the time for guidance and motivation. The way you conduct yourself, your methods of interaction, your decisiveness, your honesty, your ethical values, your hard work – all these inspire others around you to remodel themselves and improve their performance and productivity.
True leaders are always an inspiration to others and are able to extract the best from people even under the most difficult circumstances. It is your leadership qualities that motivate people to work in a coherent manner in order to achieve your ultimate goal.
And in order to inspire others, you need to keep yourself inspired, acquire new skill sets and have a firm sense of purpose as to how you want to steer the organization. Simultaneously, as you inspire others, you encourage them too to think on their own, take decisions, put forth new ideas and develop their own skills.
So as a leader, you not only inspire people to improve themselves but in the process create a team that is strong enough to survive through turbulent times.