No matter what you do for a living, you must develop leadership skills in order for your career to advance.
In fact, these skills aren’t just for managers and executives. You can become a better employee, coworker, even entrepreneur if you hone your leadership capabilities. You have the potential to become a great leader. It’s just a matter of learning to develop the right skills. The key word here is develop, not acquire. That’s because true leadership skills—the ones that drive success—come from within. To become a great leader, you have to unlock those abilities. When you do this, you will become the type of leader that people follow willingly and naturally. You can get started by following these four steps.
1. Learn to embrace fear
A good part of leadership involves facing your fears. Simply put, leaders must do things that many of us would find at least a bit harrowing such as, public speaking, firing and hiring people, dealing with the public after a mistake has been made, and taking financial risks.
The poet Robert Frost once said, “The best way out is always through.” To learn to be fearless, you have to take on tasks that scare you and get through them. Volunteer to give that presentation. Take on the opportunity to lead a small project. Make a coldcall to someone in your industry to seek advice and feedback. With every experience you tackle, you’ll learn to face your fears and develop more courage.
2. Become an expert
In order to be seen as a leader, you need to be seen as an expert. The people who work with you should be confident seeking your advice and assistance on issues relevant to your field. Do whatever it takes to obtain the level of expertise you need to gain the respect of others.
Kristin Savage, a contributing writer at Studicus, is in constant pursuit of improving her understanding of the written word. She says, “One way to accomplish this is by pursuing a formal education. Many leaders have certainly done this. However, that is not your only option. You can seek out learning opportunities through free online classes, attending seminars, and reading the writings of other experts in your field.” Keep in mind that most fields change quickly and constantly. You’ll need to be prepared to continue your education indefinitely.
There’s another advantage to learning, and that’s gaining a better understanding of your own innate talents. Learn to develop your natural skills, and you will drift towards leadership opportunities that are the best fit for you.
Finally, don’t forget the value of recognizing expertise and other people. Leaders don’t take on everything themselves. Instead, they identify and make use of the best skills in others.
3. Value failure
Nobody becomes a leader without risking failure. Nobody risks failure without experiencing at least some time. In fact, if you don’t take risks, you risk the worst kinds of failure. The difference between leaders and others is that a leader is able to extract something of value from failure. Whether you lose out on a promotion or have a proposal shot down, you can use failure as an opportunity to learn and gain insights into your own abilities.
4. Change your language
Your dialogue really informs how you see yourself. It also informs how others see you. Start with your internal dialogue. This is simply the thoughts that are going through your head as you go about your day. Everybody has an internal dialogue. Not everybody uses that to their advantage. There is a technique called neurolinguistic programming that can help you develop more confidence, improve your mood, and boost your self-esteem.
Obviously, part of having leadership skills is getting other people to notice your abilities. The best way to showcase that you are a natural leader is by communicating in a way that convinces them. You have to find your own leadership voice. That takes time. Meanwhile, you can adopt some proven techniques by listening to and learning about the ways that other leaders speak.
On a higher level, you can do this by watching and listening to leaders that inspire you. Find rousing speeches by people you admire. Watch Ted Talks. But, not all leadership communication is about giving inspirational speeches to an audience. You demonstrate your Fitness for leadership in your simple day-to-day communication. Take a look around your workplace. Find the people you and your coworkers see as leaders. Keep in mind that this may not always be somebody with a leadership title. How do they talk about themselves? How do they talk to others?
You’ll probably notice that leaders in your workplace rarely complain or criticize publicly. They offer praise frequently. They speak decisively. They don’t engage in gossip or office politics. They speak of ideas and accomplishments. Emulate those traits in your own communication.
Final thoughts: this is a process
As you work to develop your inner leadership skills, it will become more clear to you that this isn’t a finite effort. That may be what truly discerns a leader from others: they understand the necessity of constant self-analysis and improvement.
Marques Coleman is a blog writer at BestEssayEducation and TrustMyPaper. In his spare time he contributes to GrabMyEssay and WowGrade. Marques specializes in marketing and copywriting. Moreover, he is an avid traveler and always tries to learn something new.