Leadership – 3 Tips on How to Lead if You Are Not a Born Leader
Some people have it…..others do not. That natural ability to be a leader. If you’re the latter it’s not that you can never take a leadership role, it just means you may have to work a little harder when you take on such a role. A few quick tips on how to lead if you are not a born leader to those (like me) that need a little help getting there.
1. Pick a mentor or role model
I want you to think of your best boss (not just the fun one), but the one who was successful without alienating everybody around them. Your boss that was respected by everybody they led. What qualities made them the best? How did they make you feel, and what did they do that made you feel that way? Did they ask for your input? Did they value your opinion? Try and emulate this person, don’t become an exact replica, put your own spin on it, but you admired them for a reason. Tap into what they did to earn your respect and admiration and tweak it to fit you.
2. Be confident but fallible
You can’t be a leader and be afraid to lead or speak out. You also can’t be afraid to be wrong or to try something new. Nobody’s going to get it right 100% of the time. It just isn’t possible. An important part of being a good leader is being able to admit when you’re wrong and move past it.
3. Build people up instead of pushing them down
Here is one that is hard for many leaders, even the ones with natural ability. Sometimes people in leadership roles have a fear of being replaced or out-done so instead of building somebody up who’s doing a good job, they do or say nothing to help them. Others think that by pushing people down or constantly giving negative feedback they will weed out the weak links. This is not the way to do this. Let me just tell you, the weak links will weed themselves out. I’m not saying you can’t offer a person constructive feedback, but do it in a humane way (and especially don’t do it with an audience). My rule of thumb is to end on a high note. If you have to reprimand or give negative feedback, be sure to emphasize what that person is also getting right.
These are just a couple of the big ones. There are many great books out there that discuss leadership skills and how you can build them. Check out this list on Forbes.com for more resources.
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