People tend to equate workplace leadership with a specific position. But a title isn’t required to be a true leader. Leadership is the ability to influence others to achieve better results for themselves, their team and their company.
The most effective leaders have a strong sense of self – and they understand the qualities that make other people want to follow them.
Certain qualities that can be learned and practiced will guide you down the path to workplace leadership. These include:
- Generosity: A commitment to mutual support that begins with creatively sharing your ideas and insights. Do whatever it takes to help your team members succeed. Build the kind of environment where other mindsets can flourish along with your own.
- Vulnerability: A willingness to let your guard down so that mutual understanding can occur.
- Candor: The freedom to be totally honest with your teammates, manager and colleagues.
- Accountability: Following through on promises you make to others.
Steps to Leadership
If you want to become a leader, try incorporating these actions into your daily routine:
- Take responsibility. Learn to accept responsibility for every project, initiative or task that has your fingerprint on it. This means owning the good with the bad. Admit to your mistakes. Show that you have learned from them and recognize – to yourself and to others – how they have made you better.
- Push the envelope. Take calculated risks and don’t be afraid to try new things. This is what leaders do: they don’t back down from doing what they believe.
- Be open to criticism. A leader needs constant feedback, both negative and positive. Without new ideas, you will stagnate.
- Open up and pour out all that you have inside you. Give your ideas, your thoughts and your plans. Feel the vulnerability that goes along with this – and learn to like it. When you run out of ideas, reach out to others and get new ones. This ongoing give and take enriches you as a leader.
- Create a presence. In order to be known as a leader, you must first be known in general. Do this by fully developing your skills and putting them to visible use. For instance, volunteer for task forces and take on projects that others may shun. Your goal is to be known as someone who constantly adds value and is emerging as a frontrunner in your field.
- Be a mentor. As Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply enough, you don’t understand it well enough.” Mentor an intern or an entry-level employee. It will be mutually beneficial. As a mentor, you will be challenged and encouraged to know as much as possible in order to guide your mentee with ease.
- Know your limitations. You don’t have to know everything, but you should know what you don’t know. Don’t be tempted to exaggerate your knowledge or ability. You’ll risk your credibility. The best practice is to defer to someone who does know. In the end, they may return the favor when your unique knowledge is needed.
The staffing and workforce development experts at CPS Recruitment® understand the day-to-day and ongoing challenges you face as a business leader. We can develop a customized plan for your organization, to optimize your talent acquisition and management processes. Read our related posts or contact us today for more information.