Updated: Jan 13
This one goes out to all those natural born non-leaders. The ones who never raised their hands to be in charge of a class project. Who’d rather be dead (literally) than giving the eulogy. Who never speak up, never take charge, never challenge the status quo. To which I now ask, why not?
Most people don’t fall into every category above. There’s a difference between lacking a backbone and lacking in leadership skills. And the major difference between the latter and the former, is the desire to improve. The desire to develop those skills despite how terrified or vulnerable you may feel. And if you’re in that headspace, that place where you know you want to grow but you’re unsure of how to do so, you’re already on your way to becoming a leader.
In short, the answer to whether you should be building those leadership skills, should always be a definitive yes. Go ahead and shout it with me! YES! Just kidding, I’m not that kind of business coach. While there is actually a great deal of value in owning your decisions and literally saying them to yourself out loud, I will spare you the embarrassing public declarations of self affirmation today.
The first step in your leadership quest (which sounds like a video game) is to pick 3-5 leaders who inspire you. This could be a political figure, an instagram influencer (no judgement), an inspirational speaker, a relative, your best friend. It matters not what industry they’re in or if you know them, just make sure they inspire you to step up to the leadership plate. From there, brainstorm on their characteristics that you find most compelling. Circle your top five and rate yourself on these. Any place you score less than a 7 is an opportunity for improvement.
Brainstorm ways you can boost those numbers. Do you have a mentor or a coach who supports you in your day-to-day and helps elevate you to be a better leader? If not, who can you seek out to help you do so? Most great leaders have found their success with several trusted advisors by their side which is why asking for help is one of the #1 signs of a true leader. Other excellent opportunities could include taking a public speaking course and finding peers who are also working on their presentation skills, joining a networking group and volunteering to own a leadership role that you feel passionately about or even writing a business blog where you educate your readers and showcase your knowledge in your particular industry.
Go beyond leadership opportunities for just your business and explore growth in every aspect of your life from income to influence to family to friends. Give yourself a 360 view of your life. Rate yourself 1-10 on each of these components. Once again, everything less than a 7 is an area to explore. Leadership is not just for your business, it’s useful in every aspect of your life. If you view all of these major part of your life on a wheel, you see that when the wheel looks flat on one side, it can’t roll. You can’t move anywhere. This holistic approach is crucial to moving into a space of leadership for your business. Refer back to your inspirational leader list. Most of these individuals probably also lead a pretty robust lifestyle outside of their business as well. Where can you apply their admirable traits to other aspects of your life?
Some people are born leaders. Others, however, learn how to lead from a place of determination and passion. Regardless of where you fall, there’s always room for improvement. You just have to start.