Leaders are made not born

leadershipWhen we think of the great leaders of the world, we tend to assume that they have or had something special, something different that enabled them to be such great leaders. Our natural assumption is that they were born leaders, rather than learning their leadership trade in the school of hard knocks. If you’re a boss or a leader and you want to be a great leader, can you achieve that if you weren’t born a leader? In my view, the answer to that is a sure and certain ‘yes’.

Here are 5 of the most important things that I believe you can do to help you become the best leader you possibly can be:

  1. Be true to yourself. When you become a leader, it’s often hard to take your place at the head of the team when times get tough. It may be that you’re new to leadership and you haven’t quite found your style yet, but the sooner you do, the easier things will become. It may be that you’re a charismatic leader, or you might be naturally more authoritative, but either way, you need to be true to your natural style and allow it to shine through in everything you do.
  2. Be open and honest. Communication is key in any group, no matter the size, purpose or objective, so it’s essential that you are open and honest with your people and encourage them to be the same with you. Working this way means you’ll have a healthy exchange of information, both up and down the line; and you might even get some great, unexpected ideas into the bargain.
  3. Encourage respect. Winning the respect of others can be a lengthy process, but a good place to start is by showing respect. Just because you’re the boss, it doesn’t mean that you’ve got the right to be disrespectful of any member of your team. In fact, you’ll find that the more respect you show, the more respect you’ll get back.
  4. Take responsibility. If things go wrong, it’s important to accept that you’re the leader, you get paid to be the leader and so it’s essential not to point the finger at anyone else. Clearly if someone in your team has made a major blunder, then that needs to be identified and managed, but from an outside point of view, being a good leader normally means accepting that the buck stops with you.
  5. Let others shine. If you have good players in your team, it’s an important part of your role as a leader to let their qualities shine through. Don’t be tempted to take the praise for work that’s been done by others; in fact if you go the extra mile to let your team members shine then you’re likely to become a much better leader.

No matter what sort of leader you are, these actions should help you become an even better one. What’s more, don’t forget to ask your team what they’d like from you as their leader!