In Part 1 of Lift Your Leadership Lid Through Daily Actions, I talked about ways you can increase your leadership skills by always being a student and studying people.
This week, I’m talking about not just how to be a more effective leader but how to be an all-round better person and to enjoy your life more.
If you have ever read anything on leadership, you have read nothing until you’ve read The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell. It has been the #1 book on leadership for years. In that book, John says that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. We develop our influence with others in several ways, first on the inside and then on the outside. Influence comes from our people skills because leadership is a about people. Get better at your people skills and you’ll raise your leadership lid.
In order to become good leaders ourselves, we need to concentrate on internal character rather than simple external appearances. Too many times we see people rise to leadership positions who are not the best fit. They may look like a leader on the outside, but they lack the character on the inside that makes a solid leader. Because of that, you need to know the character traits that make a solid leader.
If you’re thinking that the only way to become a great leader is to be born a natural leader, you are not seeing leadership for what it really is. Although it may appear difficult for anyone to become an effective leader, it is very possible. It’s all about knowing and understanding things that matter the most, and it begins by developing on the inside and not just the outside.
Leadership is entirely about character. No combination of talents will make up for good character traits.
Do you genuinely care about people?
I love mankind! It’s people I can’t stand! – Charles Schutz
Leadership is a people skill so improving your people skills will affect not just your leadership but every area of your life. We associate leadership skills with several influential skills like communication, collaboration, and conflict management.
Improving people skills does not have to be difficult. While there are a range of types of skills that are considered to be “people skills” like small talk, public speaking, and networking, all of these skills come from one core concept that is leadership. Leadership is essentially the art of getting people to do what you want them to do.
You can improve your leadership skills by taking the time to observe how the people around you lead others. Take note of the strategies they use and how they use them to develop their influence with people.
These skills are very important in building strong relationships with other people. With great people skills, you will be able to influence and persuade people to do things they might not otherwise do. People skills are paramount in the workplace, in relationships, and in your community. People skills are particularly helpful in most jobs, whether you’re the manager or the employee.
The best way to improve your leadership skills is to practice leading different people in different situations. The more you practice, the easier it will be for you to work with anyone!
Caring – Be the reason someone smiles
Make it a point to contribute and pay it forward to the world in some way every day. By practicing thoughtful and caring behavior towards another individual, you may find that your thoughtful behavior becomes a habit. Soon enough, this habitual behavior will spread not only to all of the people closest to you, like family and friends but others too. Taking the time to think about another person’s well-being is in turn incredibly beneficial for your own personal growth and development as well. John Maxwell defines success as “having those closest to me love and respect me the most.”
Setting out to practice kindness daily doesn’t just benefit your own sense of well-being but it serves as an example of how one person can directly influence happiness amongst others. How much better off the world would be if we each did just a little more at any given moment to spread goodness and happiness because at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want for anyways?
Generosity – Don’t give to get. Give to inspire others to give.
When you’re leading a group of people, it’s easy to get caught up in the power, authority and responsibility that come with the role and forget that your first priority is to be a person of service to the team. Being a leader has an entirely different meaning from being a boss.
Bosses are in charge; leaders are those who serve their team. Bosses demand obedience; leaders inspire it. Bosses are in it for themselves; leaders are in it for the team. Naturally, there’s no one way to be a great leader. But there are ways to be a better one. And one of the best things you can do is to offer help, even if it has nothing to do with your role as a leader.
We need to be willing to help others, even if there’s no advantage to us. You may have heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s true, at least when it comes to leadership. Leaders who seem to be all about themselves, who only seem to be interested in advancing their own agendas and interests, put people off. That’s not the kind of leader you want to be. And you don’t want to be a leader with that kind of reputation, either. So, here’s a simple rule to live by: Always do what you can to help others. It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO or the newest hire — when someone asks you for help, give it.
When you’re working with a team, it’s easy to focus on yourself. You might be focused on your next promotion or your next project. You might be thinking about your income, or what your boss thinks of your performance. But as a team leader, you have to look at your team and decide who is most ready, willing and able to be the next leader. What can you do to help them develop the skills they’ll need as a leader?
Positivity – Train your mind to see the good in every situation
The world is full of people who are negative, and for some reason, they want you to be negative, too. If you listen to them, you’ll get bitter and angry, and that’s no way to live. You have a choice. You can choose to be positive, and you can make that choice every day. Sure, you’ll face challenges, and you’ll make mistakes, but you can get back up and move forward. You can overcome. By doing so, you’ll not only be happier, but you’ll inspire others to be happier, too.
There’s no such thing as a perfect leader. But there are ways to get better at it, and ways to improve your leadership skills. What are the most important qualities of a good leader? The ability to build a strong team, inspire loyalty, and develop a strategy for success. You can build a stronger team by inspiring loyalty with positive reinforcement and encouragement, and by rewarding employee successes.
Leadership is a skill, like any other skill, which you can develop over time. This doesn’t mean that leaders are born, it means that anyone can become a leader. It’s about taking the time to develop the skills and positive mindset that will enable you to become a good leader. Good leaders are leaders who have a positive impact on those around them. Being a good leader isn’t about always being right, or always being the loudest voice in the room. It’s about being able to influence those around you to do the right thing. You need to be calm, clear headed, and confident. This isn’t about controlling other people, it’s about being able to influence them to do the right thing.
Learn more about how to develop your leadership skills: Effective Leadership
Or contact me today for a complementary Strategy Session: Leadership Strategy Session