You’ve seen them…the ones who seem to be natural born leaders. They instinctively know how to keep their heads when things go wrong, and they can draw exceptional performance out of everyone on the team. If that’s not you, don’t despair. Leadership can be learned, because leadership is a process of applying specific skills and qualities and any process can be learned.
How can leadership be learned? Let’s examine 10 leadership qualities and skills and find ways you can enhance these in your life.
- Leaders are decisive. Constantly ask, “Do I know what I need to know about this topic/situation?” If so, weigh your options and make your call. Don’t agonize, overanalyze or second-guess yourself. You can always make adjustments as needed.
- Leaders are innovative and creative. Increase your self-awareness so you recognize limiting thoughts when they arise and then consciously change them. Fine-tune your flexibility, curiosity and adaptability, and then you’ll be in a position to act when you see opportunities.
- Leaders inspire confidence. When things start to unravel and fall apart, people need to know everything will be all right. Learn to model a can-do attitude so you stop negativity, procrastination and hopelessness before they get a foothold. Act like you know what you’re doing, because deep down you do know what needs to be done. It’s a matter of identifying and owning the scary parts. Be courageous and bold and people will follow you.
- Leaders are empathetic. Leaders are in the people business. You have to understand how they are feeling, not how you would feel in that circumstance. This takes communication, deep listening and vulnerability. When you are able to see things as they do, you’re much likelier to come up with a solution that they can get behind.
- Leaders have emotional control. Yes, leaders get frustrated and angry, but they buy time to cool down and respond rationally. So, write that scathing letter or email, but don’t send it. Blow off steam and then look for your emotional triggers and how you can suspend judgment as you mindfully manage those emotions.
- Leaders are persuasive. When you can express the reasons why something is important, you’ll have a persuasive argument that convinces others. Yes, there may be many ways to accomplish something, but trust that your way is worthy and valid. Being a people pleaser can really get in the way of aggressively selling your vision. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
- Leaders seek advice. No one has all the answers, so it’s essential to seek counsel. Yet many people have their own agenda. That’s why it’s wise to collect a group of people who have earned your trust to advise you. Then they can point out any blind spot in your thinking.
- Leaders invest in continuous learning. Read a wide range of books that stimulate your curiosity and creativity. Warren Buffett credits much of his success to reading – spending 80% of each day doing it.
- Leaders embrace authenticity. You’ll wear yourself out if you pretend to be something you’re not. You win respect when you showcase your unique gifts and talents, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, methodical or spontaneous. People can spot a phony from a mile away, so be true to yourself.
- Leaders remain humble. When you’re in an executive position, it’s easy to get puffed up and forget about your humble beginnings. This is inflamed by flattery from others. Keep your eyes on the good of each individual in your organization and bring out their best, promoting their growth and achievements.
Can leadership be learned? Definitely YES! That you ask this question shows you have curiosity, which is one essential leadership quality. Are you ready to unlock the leader within you? I’d love to invite you to our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon, so make plans now to attend this life-changing, 3-day event. Nando and I will help you hone YOUR gifts, talents and skills so you can make a real difference in the lives of others.