Let’s face it. Becoming a great leader doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s no piece of cake. In most cases it takes years of hard work, thousands of hours put into the job, and proven productivity. But most importantly it takes the right personality. No matter how hard, long and productively you work, if your personality can’t gain respect and inspire, “great” won’t be the adjective used to describe your leadership abilities.
Here are five tips to becoming and staying a great leader.
1. Never stop reading
This goes hand in hand with, and is the “how-to” for, the adages “never stop improving” and “never stop learning.” Great leaders are always evolving and know when to turn to others for advice and inspiration.
2. Try a bit of humility
Sharing the spotlight with your team and celebrating their successes over yours will win their trust and respect. Giving them credit for their work--and not taking it for yourself--makes you a leader.
3. Be transparent
Practice good communication with your team by always telling the truth, even the truths that are difficult to hear. Give clear and direct feedback, both positive and negative, and avoid using trendy buzzwords and corporate jargon to get your point across. If your employees always understand what you’re telling them, they will be more productive.
4. Ask for help
Just like having a bit of humility goes a long way, so does your ability to ask for help when you need it. Showing vulnerability does not reveal weakness. It takes more confidence to ask for help than to brave the storm alone sometimes. Your team will recognize this.
5. Find a mentor/be a mentor
If you’re on the path to becoming a great leader, chances are you were once (and still) inspired by an awesome leader yourself. Ask them, or someone else, to mentor you in your own career. Finding a trusted advisor to bounce ideas off of, seek advice from and guide you towards your goals is key to filling their shoes. Pay it forward by offering to mentor someone more junior in his or her career.