Leadership is one of the most sought after traits today. From firefighters rushing into a burning budling, to teachers, politicians, mentors and parents, there has never been a greater need for leaders who care about those they lead. Many people in leadership have not learned how to lead and, in turn, have left many people hurt, bitter and disillusioned.
If we think that leaders are only elitists who we have no relationship with, we will miss the opportunity to grow our own leadership skills. It may seem that there are only a few leaders in the world. The reality is there are leaders everywhere. Leaders are found in families, small businesses, classrooms, offices, prison cells and grocery stores. As you read this, think about how you can use these principles to grow as a leader.
Learn to listen. Listening can be a challenge for leaders. We can be so busy managing the responsibilities of the day that me miss out on what others have to say. Listening affords us the opportunity to see from another’s perspective. When we intentionally listen, we create a healthy place for others as well.
Seek diversity. Leaders have the potential to bring people together. When there is diversity, there are new opportunities learn to, grow and expand your reach. From new ideas, to increased productivity, having people with unique perspectives allows for growth and innovation.
Get comfortable with growing. It is easy to have all the answers, until you are put in the hot seat. Growing means admitting you don’t have all the answers. When we seek new solutions, innovations, and perspectives, we allow ourselves to grow and evolve into better leaders.
Steer the ship. Leadership means making tough decisions. Whether you are a parent, boss, teacher or a business owner, there will be times where you need to make decisions about hard things. It requires seeing the big picture and doing what needs to be done for everyone involved.
Taking responsibility. Sometimes leaders will make mistakes. They are human. The reality of leadership is that not everyone will agree with your decisions. Whether it is a friend, colleague or outside party, you can bet that you will have haters in your life. There are times when you will be ridiculed for your choices. Leadership means making the hard decisions.
Choose your friends wisely. Being a leader can sometimes feel like a lonely place to be. It’s important to surround yourself with people that will not only support you, but also help you be better. In life, everyone and their mother has an opinion. When you surround yourself by negative voices, it affects your ability to lead others.
Leading others can be one of the most rewarding and challenging tasks, but it is also one of the most important roles we will play in the lives of others. Whether you are a parent, coach, teacher, mentor, or employer, you are leading someone. Lead well.