5 Lessons That Will Prepare You To Be A Leader of People
Leaders aren’t born, and they don’t develop their skills overnight. Being a good leader takes time and requires actionable leadership lessons. You have to go through many different experiences with others to learn how to lead. And it can be incredibly challenging, which is why not everyone wants to serve as a leader.
While a lot of being a leader is learned through experience, you can carry some wisdom to help. Taking advice and applying it with practice is key to growing any skill set, including serving as a leader. If you want others to look at you with trust and respect, you must show you are worthy of that.
Leadership is hard, but you aren’t doing it alone. You will have a team working with you and past leaders who guided you. There is no leadership without other people, so always consider how your leadership fits into the bigger picture of your company. Think of people who helped you to where you are and all the leaders who demonstrated how to lead. Leadership isn’t lonely. It’s a lot of responsibility and can feel isolating, but the people you lead are there for you. Use these leadership lessons to help you be there for them in return.
- Open Mind and Open Ears
When was the last time you changed your mind? Do you remember when someone convinced you of something different? If you can’t come up with many examples quickly, that’s okay and common. People don’t like to change their minds. And we often associate leadership with hardwon opinions and immovable minds. But this isn’t what leadership is about.
Being a leader means working with people, listening to them, and being willing to change your perspective. As a leader, you have to guide your company down the right path, and if you only consider one direction, you could miss better opportunities because you want to keep your opinion the same. A stubborn leader does not make someone people can work with; a leader is nothing without the people supporting them.
You must be pragmatic and sensible and apply your skills to help those around you succeed. One crucial leadership lesson is to remain humble and lead from the sideline. Allow your employees to try new things and be open to different ideas while applying a sensible and responsible lens to what’s possible.
Allowing your employees to come to you, and showing them that you will hear them out, is vital in building trust and helping you understand them as people. You will also learn more about what goes on when you’re out of the room and how to help your company thrive without constant guidance.
- Failure Is Inevitable
You will make mistakes. You have made them before, and you will make new ones. And so will fellow employees, management, and leaders that came before you. Understanding that mistakes and failures aren’t what defines you and allowing yourself to make them is a great skill to develop. No leader has a perfect track record. And knowing you’ve made past mistakes shows you are willing to try out new things and keep moving forward after failure.
Treating failure like a learning opportunity is a hard-earned skill and one that is crucial for leadership. Leading by example is a huge part of leading a team. People will support and respect you when you are willing to do the work. Employees want to know that you understand their jobs and can put in the hard work alongside them. Demonstrating that you can accept failure and learn from it will allow your employees to do the same.
Building a team that can take failure and turn it into growth depends on leadership. How is failure treated? Are there lessons to be learned, or is the immediate reaction to teach someone a lesson? Adjusting the mindset around failure helps build a more positive work culture and a team more willing to try new things. Innovation is hard to come by and is something everyone in the business world wants. You can foster this by promoting experimentation and reframing what failure means.
- Keep Cool
Being a leader is difficult. You cannot please everyone, and yet you have to lead everyone. And rarely will all staff agree with every decision. This is the reality of working with other people. It can be filled with joy, innovation, indecisiveness, and conflict. How you handle the challenges will say a lot about you as a leader. Do you get frustrated quickly and lose your head? Or are you able to stay steady even when things are rough?
The most challenging and turbulent times are when people need a leader, especially one who is level-headed. This can take a lot of practice since working in crisis mode isn’t always the norm and is challenging. It’s especially difficult when everyone looks to you for the big decisions. But you have to be able to make effective and thoughtful decisions despite the situation.
You also want to avoid being the kind of person to snap at team members when something goes wrong. This goes hand in hand with the previous tip because if you look at failure as a learning opportunity, it can help you take it in stride. All companies have ups and downs, and you have to be able to lead your team through all stages.
- Trust In Your Team
Micromanagement remains alive and well in company culture and prevents everyone from working efficiently. As a leader, you are building your team for success. Choose wisely and make sure you are addressing any possible bias before hiring people. You want a team you work well with but also a team that will challenge ideas and works hard to create something new. You don’t want a bunch of people who always agree with you, but you need to get along and be able to listen to one another. And there has to be mutual trust.
Respecting and believing that your employees know how to do the job they were hired for allows them more opportunities to succeed. As a leader, you have to demonstrate trust. Give clear directions, and don’t hover over a shoulder to ensure it gets done. You shouldn’t have to. And if you do, you will need to consider the team and how those work practices can improve.
Showing that you trust your employees will allow them to trust you better. It needs to be mutual, and a company cannot run smoothly without that kind of respect. As a leader, it is not your job to do everyone else’s job better. Be wary of trying to manage everyone all the time, and try to give people the space to succeed in their jobs.
- Listen and Learn
Listening and learning are two things you always want to continue doing as a leader and person. There are always new business tools and theories developing. Staying up to date and continuing to learn will go a long way in developing leadership skills. And you have to be willing to hear people out. Do not listen to respond, but listen to understand.
No one knows everything and admitting that is essential in leadership. Many people move into leadership positions thinking they must know everything or put on a front that they do. This isn’t a good thing for them or their employees. Allowing yourself to learn new things from leadership lessons and continuously striving toward improvement will motivate your employees to do the same. You want to work with a team working toward more than what they had yesterday.
Hunger for more and feed that desire to advance your knowledge. If you acknowledge you do not know everything, strive to do so even if it is impossible. Continue seeking out new information and new perspectives to broaden your own.
Don’t limit yourself to your current skill set. Find leadership training tools, books, and mentors to keep improving your skills. There are numerous resources available to help you and your business. Leadership roles aren’t stagnant. Even if you are at the head of your company, you can still move upward with your skills, goals, and knowledge. Being open to listenings and learning new things will benefit you and your employees.
Endless Lessons of Leadership
To be a great leader, you must be open to the idea that there are millions of leadership lessons to learn. And you also have to be open to the idea that you may never finish learning all of them. Leadership isn’t only about courage and confidence but also about compassion, empathy, and maintaining an open mind. A leader is someone people can look to on all occasions for guidance, assistance, and pragmatic decisions. And if you want to start adding to your leadership abilities today, check out this webinar to help adapt your skills to today’s business world.