In today’s society leadership plays a major role. Whether your goal is being a better team member, moving up the corporate ladder, gaining entrance to the graduate program of your choice, or simply bettering yourself - developing your leadership skills will open the doors of opportunity. This article gives five areas of focus for becoming a positive leader:
1. Take the initiative
Prepare to be a great leader. Gain the knowledge and skill you need to lead. If you hope to conduct a symphony or lead an international company you must practice, build your skills, and obtain the proper education and training. Learn your industry, and the players therein. Often times individuals hold back when a leader is needed. Be ready to lead, step out and take the lead. Be fearless and willingly jump into a leadership role when it is available. If you have planned in advance you will be ready to lead when an opportunity arises.
2. Establish an excellent work ethic
Every excellent leader knows they should be the hardest working member of the team. Learn to work smart - work to get the most out of yourself and each team member. Establish team procedures that streamline productivity. Legendary businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie recognized the value of teamwork, when he said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results”. With these words of wisdom in mind, always be careful to get the most out of your team and yourself by utilizing everyone’s gifts and skills to the highest potential.
3. Commit to integrity
Immovable integrity is a valuable necessity for positive leadership. Within all fields of work, ethical and moral issues will arise and require a commitment to integrity. Make a commitment to be honest in all matters and on all levels of your work. Practice strong integrity in all areas of your life. Establish policies of integrity within your group. Communicate the importance of integrity to those you lead. Modeling integrity will build the integrity and moral character of your coworkers and subordinates.
4. Make respect and service a priority
Put the care of others first. Think of how your decisions will affect those beyond yourself. Practice leadership that focuses on the desire to better your team, company, community, and world. Always think carefully before posting anything on social media or before firing off that angry email. Place yourself in the recipient’s position as you reread the words of your post before posting. Remember the golden rule, treat others as you would like to be treated.
5. Practice loyalty
Be loyal to those around you. Demonstrate your loyalty by keeping confidences, respecting other’s privacy, and speaking well of old employers. Leadership is based on trust, which stems from loyalty. Trust cannot be gained unless your team knows you are loyal. Resist the temptation to gossip or complain. Mother Teresa said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies”. Take each opportunity of frustration as an avenue to new problem solving skills.
Successful leadership is a combination of the fearless ability to take charge coupled with the drive to work harder than anyone else. Integrity and loyalty allow your team to have a safe environment to grow. Insuring your team always knows you put them first and care about their personal and professional development will enable them to blossom in ways you never imagined. As you continue your journey of forging your leadership potential, remember great leaders are not naturally occurring or cultivated in a day - they are created by years of patience, practice, hard work, education, experience, and humility.