Are you a leader? Leadership is about more than securing a job title: rather, it’s earned by taking the right types of actions. This week’s Friday Five will help you identify if you have what it takes to be a true leader.
1) “Each and every one of us is a leader. Some of us just don’t know it yet.” – Umair Haque
Whether you’re the CEO, a mid-level manager or just starting out in the mail room, there’s a leader somewhere inside you. Take time to think about what leadership qualities you possess and write them down. Remind yourself daily that you have the potential to be a great leader. Consider the leadership qualities you want to gain and reflect on how you can improve. Here are a few tips on discovering the leader within:
- Find a mentor and ask for guidance.
- Learn something new about yourself and your team every day.
- Sign up for a leadership, management or communications classes.
2) “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
One key indicator of a leader is the ability to see the upside of even the biggest “failures”. A leader does not get it right the first time, every time. Instead, s/he is able to learn from each misstep and apply that learning to his or her next try. A few tips for overcoming failures:
- Ask yourself why it didn’t work. Then make adjustments based on the answers.
- Quickly move forward after a failure. Don’t dwell on disappointments or frustrations.
3) “Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.” – Richard Branson
Quotations like this demonstrate why Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin group of companies, inspires both his workforce and people outside the Virgin organization. If you’re hoping to inspire through leadership, show respect to those you’re hoping to lead to gain their respect in turn. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Listen – really! – to others’ ideas and concerns.
- Fully consider others’ points of view.
- Be open and honest, even when it’s hard to do.
- Know you can be wrong!
4) “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates
Inspiring a group of people to innovate, take risks and overcome challenges is what a leader should aspire for. Leaders are mindful of supporting others’ goals and successes rather than their own.
5) “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu
Are you starting to see a trend yet? Those selfless individuals who are capable of sparking excitement, encouraging growth and enlightening others make the best leaders. As a leader, your goal should never be to receive credit. Instead, focus on those you’re leading. Empower them to feel they’ve accomplished something and are heading in the right direction.
What characteristics do you think are necessary for a true leader?