When we think of leadership qualities, our mind goes to a great, courageous leader.
Sometimes we want to be like them. What we don’t realize is that we have those qualities, but sometimes we don’t use them in our everyday life.
A successful leader didn’t win those qualities as soon as he created the company or after he got promoted.
He has been using and perfecting those skills during his entire life. You can do the same thing with your skills and qualities.
Good human relations skills can change people from managing to leading others. No one ever said that leadership skills come naturally, and usually they do not.
There are a few people that do it instinctively, but most people need to be educated and trained.
What does leadership mean?
It means to help people achieve what they are capable of. To establish a vision for the future, to encourage, coach, and maintain a successful relationship.
A Leader must ask:
Where is this work team heading?
Whom are we trying to serve?
How can we improve the quality of our work?
The specific answers will be as different as the people being led, as different as the leaders themselves.
The important thing is that leaders give answers to these questions.
1. Be Authentic
There is no correct way to lead, and talented leaders may come in different personality types.
Some are loud or quiet, funny or serious, tough or gentle, boisterous or shy. Age, race, and sex doesn’t matter in defining a leader.
You can’t just find a leader that you like and imitate him/her. You are unlikely to succeed from a poor imitation of someone who is successful.
Being a leader requires you to figure out who you really are. Search for personal qualities that you possess, and if you don’t, you can learn them to implement in your personality.
Some of the qualities are- A great imagination, a positive attitude, a strong sense of values, and persistence.
The first step to success is to identify your leadership strengths.
2. Set Goals
Goals keep our effort focused, and they allow us to measure our success. Goals give us a sense of urgency that the work needs to be done now.
Set goals that are realistic and challenging. Goals that are clear and measurable, for the short term and the long run.
When you reach one goal, take a second to pat yourself on the back.
Then move on to the next goal, emboldened, strengthened, and energized by what you have already achieved.
Never stop seeking something different. Don’t be satisfied with what you are doing.
Always try to seek a way and a method to improve upon what you are doing, even if it’s considered contrary to the traditions of an industry.
Those who don’t set goals, follow but don’t lead. They do fine when times are good. However, when times get tough, they inevitably get left behind.
Set small goals, plan every detail, and work hard toward them, succeed, and repeat this cycle.
The idea is to set goals and strive to meet them.
Sometimes you will succeed.
Sometimes it will take more time than you thought, and sometimes you will not attain what you thought you would. Some things just aren’t meant to be.
The point is to keep planning and plugging away.
To be a good leader is not that complicated. You need to stay focused and be self-disciplined. You should also desperately want to succeed.
Everyone who has got to the top has made it by working hard.
Have a goal clearly in your mind, something you want. Believe in yourself and be persistent, and don’t allow yourself to be distracted.
Successful leaders know precisely what they want to achieve and they work toward a specific goal. The result is superhuman motivation.
Persistence is the other part of the equation. To get what you want in life, you have to believe in yourself and be willing to keep after it.
Leaders never lose their focus. They keep their eyes on the big picture.
4. Balance your life
It is vital to balance out our lives, to make room for things other than work. By balancing your life you will produce more happy and satisfying relationships.
It makes people more energetic, focused, and productive at work.
If you want to be a great leader, you need all parts of your life to be strong and intact.
A leader who makes money for his company, but doesn’t get along with his wife and kids, is missing a crucial part of life.
If you want to be a good leader you have to be a complete man or woman. The most important part of it is your family.
Sometimes is hard to bring balance to your life, especially when you are very ambitious. The work seems more urgent, and more critical.
Attaining a reasonable division of time between work and family is a significant challenge. However, it is worth the effort to master that problem.
Having a high performance comes from a balance between work and family.
Enthusiasm is contagious, and it makes people respond. If you are not enthusiastic about an idea or a product, nobody else will be.
The best way to get someone excited about an idea is to be excited about yourself.
If you want to change the environment, first change yourself.
You cannot fake enthusiasm, but you can create it. It is a feeling that has to come from within you.
You can create enthusiasm when you believe in yourself and in what you are doing.
Make a list of the things that makes you love what you’re doing. Then act enthusiastic. Tell someone about it, and let them know why it interests you.
When you increase enthusiasm, you decrease your fatigue, tension, and your worries.
When you have goals in life, and when you genuinely try to achieve them, enthusiasm is easy to attain.
Wake up in the morning and take a minute to think about something pleasing or beautiful that will happen that day.
It doesn’t have to be something big. Maybe is a part of your job you always enjoy, or when you will meet your friend after work.
Once you discover that you are enthusiastic about doing something, it’s easy to develop the ability to be excited about every goal.
Be enthusiastic, and see what impact has on the people around you. They will be more productive and more eager to follow you.
Never underestimate the power of enthusiasm.
6. Motivate people
Give them a real sense of purpose, the feeling that he/she is working for something valuable. People are motivated to excel when they work for a mutual or essential goal.
Recognize people, include them, ask for their opinions, and praise them. Share the success with them. Seek their advice and if possible follow it.
Make them understand how valuable they are. In other words show them that you trust, respect, and care for them. Do that, and you will surround yourself with motivated people.
Take care of your people, and the business takes care of itself.
Here are three techniques to motivate
1. Include your employees- Try to ask them to give you one or two suggestions which will help you to improve.
They will also feel good if you implement their idea.
2. Treat them as individuals- Be kind to your people and treat them with respect. Say hello, smile, and know your employees.
You cannot make people feel something that you don’t feel yourself.
Care for them sincerely then you can get the same level of respect back.
3. Acknowledge a job well done- Don’t be like the tight-lipped, disapproving parent that many of us grew up with. I mean those parents that don’t congratulate their kids for getting that A on the test.
There is still a little child in every one of us waiting for praise.
Telling people that they have done an excellent job will make them feel good.
Let people in your life know that you respect them, and that you appreciate their work. You want them to learn and grow their full potential.
7. Listen to learn
There are two very good reasons to listen to other people.
You learn things that way, and people respond to those who listen to them.
This point is so obvious, but it’s a lesson that most of us spend most lives forgetting to apply.
No one can know everything. Listening to others is the best single way to earn.
It means listening to employees, customers, and your friends and family- Even to what the harshest critics have to say.
It doesn’t mean becoming captive to other people’s opinions, but it does mean hearing them out.
You will be thankful for many of their ideas.
It is a sound rule to follow for social and business success.
People everywhere love someone who listens to them. Moreover, they almost always respond to others who hear.
Listening is one of the best techniques we have for showing respect to someone else.
It is an indication that we consider them important human beings.
It’s true in the business world and it’s necessary at home. It applies to everyone we meet during our life.
Get to know people, talk to everybody you meet, listen very intently, and don’t make yourself above anyone else.
Listen to influence
Dean Rusk said, “Listening is the way to persuade others with your ears .” It may seem strange, but listening may be the best method to get them to your way of thinking.
It can be a powerful tool for convincing others to see the world the way you see it.
It will help you to understand what is someone thinking.
Why do they say no?
What is the real reason behind it?
Why don’t they accept your ideas?
Some people talk too much when they try to convince others they are right. So, let them talk. They know more about their business or problems than you do.
If you disagree with them, you may be tempted to interrupt. But don’t, it’s dangerous. They will not pay attention to you, because they may have many ideas to share.
Listen patiently and with an open mind. Encourage them to express their ideas fully.
They will never forget, and you will learn something.
Nobody is more persuasive than a good listener.
8. Handle mistakes, complaints, and criticism
I make mistakes, you make mistakes, we all make mistakes.
There are two fundamental truths about mistakes:
Number one, we all make them.
Number two, we are quick to point them to others, but we hate when someone points ours.
Nothing stings our ego more than when others told us we have made a wrong decision or performed low in a job. It is even more difficult when the criticism is correct.
However, it is normal to make mistakes or receive complaints from employees or customers. Nobody is on target all the time.
So, how to handle mistakes?
First, create an environment where people are open to receiving advice or constructive criticism.
Tell them that making mistakes is a natural part of life. One way to do this is to admit your mistakes.
Remember: You can’t expect from others what you are not willing to do yourself.
Admit your fault, be the first to admit your mistakes. Everyone else will say, “No, it’s not that bad.” “It doesn’t really matter.”
Do the opposite, blame other people for something.
Everyone will start to contradict you, and they will explain that they were correct.
Funny, isn’t it, how human psychology works?
It’s true for all relationships in a company, a group of friends, in your family, or with your customers.
When the customer is complaining about your product or service, a quick and forceful admission of error can often work to calm the situation.
Always: Admit your mistakes before anyone has a chance to point them out. Make a funny statement or laugh about them if you can. Never try to minimize the impact they have had.
The worst thing you can do is blame everyone.
A leader has to be responsible for his/her mistakes.
2-Think twice before you criticize or blame someone- If the person who made a mistake, knows how it happened and what to do so it will not happen again, then it’s alright.
There is no point to make him feel worse than is.
Motivated employees want to perform well. They don’t come to work to mess things up. They want to feel valuable.
Criticizing someone in front of others will not fix the problem. Instead ask: How can we improve the situation?
Those people that receive harsh criticism are far less likely to take risks or to be creative. Instantly, the group has lost an essential part of that employee’s potential.
Blame rarely improves the situation. But, sometimes when people repeat the mistake, and if the need is urgent, criticize respectfully.
3-When you criticize, begin with praise about the good work they have done- Talk about areas that need improvement.
Use encouragement makes the faults seem easy to correct.
Finally, finish with a discussion of how valuable is for the company.
It is crucial to avoid arguing.
If you are arguing with someone, you already lost. You have lost your control, and you can’t reach your goal, which is to communicate, motivate, and persuade.
There is only one way to win the argument, and that is to avoid it.
Avoid it as you avoid a storm.
Ninety percent of arguments end with both parties convinced that each one is right.
A leader cannot climb the leader to success by taking advantage of and treating bad other people.
He may make initial progress in his career, but the people he abused and disrespected during his climb will not forget.
When he stumbles, as all of us do from time to time, these people just will step aside and let him fall.
We all tend to worry about something during our life. Sometimes our worries leave, but sometimes the worry manages to conquer our lives.
It is a big problem that most of us find difficult to deal with.
We learn at school lots of information, some of which you never apply. But, you don’t learn how to stop and deal with worrying.
Here are five techniques that you can apply every day
These techniques will help you crowd worry out of your life, and you will experience less stress and worry.
1-Live today- Try to focus on your daily activities.
Many people spend too much energy focusing on the mistakes of the past and fearful future.
The past is gone, and the future hasn’t come yet. Of course, you can think about and plan for tomorrow, learn and improve the experience of yesterday.
2-Probability- Most people worry too much about things that never happen. Try to use mathematical odds on the things that you worry about the most.
Montaigne said, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.”
Try to ask yourself this question, What is the probability that the thing I am worrying about will ever occur.
3-Accept the inevitable- There are so many times that we worry about something that happened in the past or about something that is very difficult to achieve.
For example, What do you do when you fall in love with a girl, and she doesn’t love you?
You feel sad, and you feel turned down, but after a while, the question disappears. You don’t find a solution, so you just live with it.
There are plenty of unpleasant situations that we might find in, and for some of them, we will have the skills to change. But, sometimes despite our efforts, skills, or creativity we just cannot control it.
Too bad, isn’t it, that we can’t control the circumstances? That’s just life, sooner or later we have to accept it.
4-Put a stop-loss order to worry
On Wall Street is called the stop-loss order. Sell the stock if it falls below a certain price. You will accept the loss, but you are not going to spend all your fortune on a single mistake.
Follow the same thing with worry. Ask yourself:
How much is worth worrying about this situation? Is it worth two weeks of anxiety?
Decide how much worry a problem is worth.
5-Get busy. It is a straightforward and efficient technique to avoid fear.
If you find yourself worrying, start doing something that requires concentration. Learn a new skill, play a sport, or do something you believe in.
Focus on the needs of others. When you are busy doing something, you will remove yourself from worrying.
Ninety percent of worries never happen. So, when you find yourself worrying, do something to get rid of it.
By avoiding worry, you will feel more energized, calm, happy, and healthy.
What is mental strength? It is the power we have in our heads. It is the way we react and deal with tough situations.
You are going to experience a good day or a bad day. All of our life we face external forces. Even in the most difficult and frustrating situations, you have a choice- to decide what kind of day will be.
Outside influences do not usually determine personal happiness. What’s important is the way we respond to those influences.
When things are not going well, try to relax. Think about what is going on and what is your reaction.
A positive, self-confident feeling not only helps you to achieve more but also makes other people connect with you.
We all respond to the attitude of others. That’s why we are attracted to people with a positive mentality.
That’s the reason we want to surround ourselves with friends and co-workers who are happy and productive.
We all know big organizations where most of the employees are unhappy. How did this happen? One employee at a time.
A leader has to fight that spread constantly by implanting positive feelings and attitudes.
One of the most important jobs of a leader is to set a positive, self-confident tone, and show others that failure is not an option.
Around 2000 years ago, Julius Caesar sailed across the channel from Gaul and landed with his legions in the land which is now England, and he made a critical decision. He put the all ships on fire.
The soldiers were standing in the enemy land, with the only way to retreat going in smoke.
They had no alternative than to use every ounce of strength to win or perish.
A positive attitude isn’t necessary only in life or death situations. It’s also the secret to building a happy life and a successful career.
Gain strength from the positive and don’t back up from the negative.
Every successful leader has discipline or self-discipline in his life.
A leader has to be able to perform, keep life on schedule, and keep promises which are essential for success. That requires discipline.
None of us can afford to have a life that is controlled by someone else or by our emotions.
There are two types of people:
The one who says, “I am going to wait until I feel like it before I do it.” Alternatively, “I am going to do it, and then feel.”
The first one will never get anything done because is waiting for the right moment.
Self-discipline is essential in everyone’s life to accomplish and get things done.
Ask yourself, “am I doing the things that I should do, or am I waiting for the right moment.”
Conclusion: Everyone can be a great leader. So, the first thing to do is to change yourself before trying to influence others.
The world needs leaders that are oriented toward people. When you respect your employees and clients, they in return will be more productive and help you in difficult situations.
In business, in family life, in politics, follow the rules above, and your chances of succeeding will astronomically increase.
The source from the book: “The Leader in You” by Dale Carnegie.