How does one become a leader? Some say that leaders are born, not made. Others say that one becomes a leader by virtue of being put in a position of leadership. Neither of these are the case. While some people may have some natural talents that may make it easier for them to become leaders, there are definite skills that can be taught. In addition, it is by showing the qualities of leadership that you inspire those in positions of power to put you into leadership roles. These things do not happen by accident.
Developing Your Leadership Potential
So how can you develop your leadership potential? Leadership development begins with desire. Do you really want to be a leader of others or are you doing it because you feel obligated to for some reason? This is not an area where you will be able to “fake it.” On the other hand, the spiritual and mental enrichment you will gain from becoming a successful leader will make it well worth the effort.
One of the most important things a leader does is take responsibility. Rather than blaming others when a project goes wrong, a good leader puts mistakes aside and focuses the team on what is need to fix the situation. A good leader has to be willing to take risks and to fail: this is the best way to ensure long term success. If you are afraid to fail, you will never maximize your potential.
Believe in yourself and others will believe in you. Some people are not naturally confident, but this is a skill that can definitely be developed. Start by setting yourself up with guaranteed success experiences, then move onto likely success experiences. Then try a less likely success experience but remind yourself that it is okay to fail. If you do fail, take careful note of how the world did not end and try again. You have the power inside you to inspire others; you just need to let it out.
Learn everything you can about the area where you are leading. If there’s something you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask an expert to fill in the gaps, and be sure to really listen to what they are saying. You can’t help your team grow if you don’t know what you are talking about.
Know your team members. Each of your team members may have a different skill set. They may also have different hopes, needs and desires from their work. It’s important that you learn all of these if you are to be an effective team builder.
As you can see, none of the skills above are ones you are necessarily born with. They all can be developed and nurtured to make you a better leader. All you need is the desire.