How to Become a Leader

10 Traits an Inspired Leader Must Have
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Originally Published on Apr 10, 2021 ByMarie Barnes


Leading people is not an easy task. A thousand and one responsibilities fall on your shoulders. After all, leaders are the safeguard against chaos. They are the engine of a group. What defines a great leader? An upright stance and a proud poise? Intelligence and valiance? The will of steel and steadfast determination? Often, we seek something in the leaders we lack. However, different challenges require different qualities from a chief. So, we may spend days enumerating all the possible traits a leader could have. There is no limit to perfection. Instead, we will concentrate on a specific side of a leader – his attitude towards the others.

The way you treat people makes them respond accordingly. Obviously, you can choose the path of tyranny, fear, and oppression to be an effective leader. You will force people to do things, they will obey, and technically you are a leader. But this is a slippery slope. Coup d’états and rebellions are the results of such leadership. If you want to be the one that people follow deliberately and with loyalty, you should possess the next traits. 

1. Determination

Let’s start with the obvious. You must be determined enough to get somewhere and not give up on the way. A determination is an obligatory minimum for a leader. People will not follow if you cannot move forward. They need inspiration, and you give it to them through action. 

2. Responsibility

Being a leader means you are responsible for the team. Every member of your group confides in your decision-making abilities. You cannot let them down. Your purpose is to lead them. In other words, wherever your team ends up, it is your victory or failure. You are the face of your group. When everything goes to hell, you are the first to meet the devil. If you can bear that burden, the leadership is for you.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” — John Maxwell

 

3. Genuine Empathy

Empathy is how well you can understand the emotions of others. It is the key to successful relations with anyone. If you feel what another person feels, you can better navigate through the reality of that person. Understanding their pain, you are more prone to help – it is becoming personal for you. 

There are many ways to show empathy: listen more, be attentive to others, do not judge hastily. It is not about forgetting your problems and turning into the selfless altruist to the end of your days. It is about paying attention. Just give a bit of your warmth to others along the way and try to understand them. Maybe, you can help them somehow. People remember such things, and they will respect you.

4. Positivity

Positivity is a useful tool. We all have dark moments in our lives, and unless we have a light with us, it is easy to get lost in the darkness. The moodiness stretches out, everything is dull and gloomy, and irritation takes its place. We snap at each other, but nothing resolves. Ill humor is a tricky enemy: it makes you forget about good times and joy. If you can fight that with optimism, then you have a torch to lead others through the darkness. People will seek your company to get warmer, and they will be happy to have you as their leader. 

5. Open-mindedness

You should not be close-minded, being intolerant to different people or ideas. If you cannot accept something new, alien, or better because of your personal preferences, fear, or pride, you will have problems. Times are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan sang, and so is the world. To keep up with the innumerous trends and progress, you need to get on board with it. Also, it simplifies your communication with other people as their personality does not affect your judgment.

6. Ability to Learn

This is the logical continuation of the previous paragraph. The ability to grow, adapt, and acquire new skills is a must for a leader. Learning from your mistakes is another thing. Everyone makes mistakes. Leaders do as well. However, accepting your failures and learning from them is important. Do not let ignorance take hold of you.

7. Straightforwardness

Sometimes, team members can make a mistake. Do you have it in yourself to show them their fault? Can you reprimand or fire someone if the need arises? You are responsible for your team, remember? If someone jeopardizes its future, you must deal with this person. You cannot play only a good cop here. 

8. Humility

Can you bide your mistakes? Can you ask for help from your fellow team member? Your ego and pride should not stand in your way. You are not some infallible machine that should perform flawlessly. You cannot know everything. A team works as one, and you are a part of it – ask for advice or support when needed.

 

9. Approachability

Other team members should not fear coming up to you. If they are afraid of reaching out, you have a lack of trust. It might lead to secrets and unspoken words. Secrets are bombs with a long fuse, of which you do not know. To avoid that, you need to establish an open-door policy. Work on your relationship with the team: your leadership depends on it. 

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill

10. Self-care

The final point is all about yourself. To be the most effective, you should care about your well-being. Your physical and mental health are the fuel of your energy. You cannot be optimistic, think a few steps ahead, make decisions, and be an inspiring example for others when your mind and soul are in the wrong place. 

We often tend to forget about the need for rest and recreation, joy and happiness while pursuing our professional growth. There should be enough sunlight and alimentation for a plant to grow. There should also be enough good things for you to live on and succeed. 

Congratulations, if you have all those traits within yourself. You should be good at leading others. If there is something you lack, do not get upset – everything can be learned and practiced to perfection. Look it up on the internet. You can find all the answers there. 

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Marie Barnes

Marie Barnes is a Marketing Communication Manager at Adsy and an enthusiastic blogger interested in writing about technology, social media, work, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. She shares her insights through blogging. Follow her on Medium.

Related:

Leadership Traits – List of Top Qualities of an Effective Leader (corporatefinanceinstitute.com)

 


How To Be A Successful Leader From Home

Before the pandemic, working from home was something that a few people did and a lot more were interested in trying out.

Before the pandemic, working from home was something that a few people did and a lot more were interested in trying out. Now it’s rather suddenly become a fact of life for entire workplaces and teams, and many of us are still working to adapt. If you’re finding it difficult to manage some elements of working with your team or even staying on top of your own workflow and habits in this new normal, here’s some great advice compiled from my clients who are experienced in successfully working and leading from home

For Your Team:

Overcommunicate, especially when things are uncertain. Provide additional detail and context to make up for the information people can no longer pick up organically in casual conversations. Be as clear and consistent as possible to keep everyone moving in the same direction.

Raise the flag if something looks off. It’s important to speak up, because it’s harder to spot things that have gone awry when everyone is working separately. If you have a concern, check in to see if what others think . And if you’re spinning your wheels on a project, let your colleagues know. Identify problems early so you can start working toward solutions.

Create inner circles of collaboration. If you do your best work in collaboration with a work partner or small group, block a few hours to share a virtual room. Use technology to see each other, view each other’s screens and set up a virtual whiteboard to share ideas and work through problems.

Check in with others. Find the structure that works best for maintaining open channels with each member of your team, making sure you check in regularly. It’s more important than ever that you ask lots of questions and listen to the answers.

Recognize effort as well as accomplishments. There are fewer opportunities for recognition when everyone is working separately, so make an extra effort. In addition to celebrating wins, recognize those who are contributing extra effort and longer hours, those who are working through stressful situations, and those who have taken a risk or tried something new—even if it didn’t work out.

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For Yourself:

Start and end the work day at a specific time. Those who are new to working from home often experience burnout because they feel they never leave work. Set a schedule for the beginning and end of every work day. Of course there will be some nights you work late, but make them the exception, not the rule.

Work with your peak hours and low-energy moments. We all have times when we’re more focused and productive and times when our energy is lower and we’re more prone to distraction. An advantage of working from home is that it’s easier to balance your time, energy and productivity around your individual rhythm.

Remove as many distractions as possible. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to realize you’ve just spent an hour on social media or down an internet rabbit hole. Take social media off your work computer. Leave your phone in another room and get rid of any distractions that you know will get in the way of your productivity.

Create breaks during the day. No one can sit at a desk for 12 hours straight and do their best work. Even 15 to 30 minutes a couple of times a day can make a big difference in your focus and clarity. Treat it like a meeting and make yourself unavailable.

Exercise or do something vigorous at least four days a week. Aside from the physical benefits, exercise increases mental sharpness and makes you better at handling stress. It’s harder to fit exercise in, especially if you’re used to the routine of going to a gym, but your productivity and mental attitude—not to mention your health—depend on it.

Pay attention to your mindset. Working from home makes it extra important that you stay on top of your thoughts and mental attitude. It can be harder to find ways to clear your head, and there are fewer interactions with others to keep you grounded. Find things that nourish you—take your laptop out on the porch, play some music, read an author whose work inspires you.

Fight loneliness and isolation. Working from home, you miss out on camaraderie, companionship and interacting with others. But you don’t have to feel you’re on an island. Set up a virtual lunch date or happy hour, or create chat channels for topics of interest. Spend a bit of time every day connecting with co-workers about nonwork topics- think of it as the online version of stopping by their desk to chat.

Lead from within: Successfully working from home is a skill; it takes time and commitment and dedication to develop that skill. But with a great leader at the helm, people and teams can find their way and be as successful as ever.


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Effective Leadership Begins With the Reflection in the Mirror

Effective Leadership Begins With the Reflection in the Mirror

How to become an effective leader by looking at yourself.

Published 1 day ago

on Aug 17, 2020

By Ken Kladouris

Image Credit: Unsplash

If you’d like to learn how to become an effective leader so you can influence many people throughout your life, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.

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Effective Leadership Begins With the Reflection in the Mirror

How to become an effective leader by looking at yourself.

Published 1 day ago

on Aug 17, 2020

By Ken Kladouris

Image Credit: Unsplash

 

If you’d like to learn how to become an effective leader so you can influence many people throughout your life, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


Our global community is facing continuous turbulence. With the current status being less of a new normal and more of a “no normal,” being able to skillfully navigate as a leader has become a top priority. While trying to stay focused above the noise, manage your personal life, and adapt to new work-life adjustments, you may also be in a position to manage a team, composed of individuals who are also going through troubling uncertainty.

The stark reality is that in order to operate effectively as a leader, you must first start with the reflection in the mirror. It is paramount that each leader develop ways to manage their own heightened emotions and stressors in order to thrive – not just survive – in our distressed global climate.

Now more than ever, making intentional decisions to manage one’s emotional and mental state is vital to attaining clarity, cultivating ideas, and constructively handling day to day interactions. With the relentless negative news and an environment which is subject to drastic change on a daily or hourly basis, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Fear, doubt and defeat have a funny way of sneaking in at times when hope, conviction and problem solving are actually what is needed most.

“Never lose hope. Never forget the power of intentions and desires.” – Debasish Mridha

In a leadership role, everyone from peers to team members and ownership look to you as the true north – the person who can help get their ship back on course, mitigate damage along the way, and outline the path forward. Therefore, it is crucial that the captain of the ship remains calm and collected, instilling confidence that they have the ingenuity and grit to navigate the storm and bring everyone out safely on the other side. So the question becomes, how can you do that when your own emotions and stressors are at an all-time high?

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Leaders also realize that active listening is key when managing others – after all, people need to feel heard and in order to guide someone, knowing where they stand is half the battle. This means you need to be present in the conversations taking place – not distracted and consumed by the turbulence swirling around you.

As we look to a future that is riddled with uncertainty, cultivating an active daily practice to manage perspective is an essential part of establishing well-being. After all, your perspective has great influence over your decisions, the teams you manage, and the overall health of the companies you represent. So the healthier your mind is and the more thoughtfully your emotions are managed, the better your decision making ability will be to help you navigate the unknown. It will also help you lead by example so your team can embrace similar practices to elevate their overall mental and emotional state.

They often say the simplest of things are the hardest – this is what many people think of first when they think of meditation. However, daily meditation of just 20 minutes has been shown to provide mental clarity that lasts through the work day and compounds upon itself.

This practice can be cultivated by simply doing the following:

  1. Choose a time frame every day that you will dedicate to meditation. It’s ideal if you can do your meditation right after waking up.
  2. Create a calm, quiet place in your home to meditate where you will not be interrupted.
  3. When you go to meditate, make sure your phone is on silent. If you feel you need to set your timer, be sure that it is a soft sound otherwise it may startle you.
  4. Sit in an easy comfortable position, close your eyes, and simply breathe. Deepen each breath with every inhale. Let stress, anxiety and fear go with every exhale.
  5. Repeat this for 20 minutes allowing your thoughts to come and go and your mind to settle. It will seem noisy in your mind at first, but over time your thoughts will seem more like a soft song and less like a rock concert rolling loudly around in your mind.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
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This practice for many has become a cornerstone of their daily routines – setting the stage for “successful” days and productive weeks. We all have challenging emails, calls, conversations and beyond in both our personal and professional lives. So being able to harness a calm state of mind and a balanced set of emotions will allow you to lead better, dream bigger, think outside the box and help model healthy behaviors for your team, your circle and beyond.

While appearing simple, choosing 20 minutes a day for your 2020 practice – a mere 1% of your day – may challenge you, however, this active practice will reveal amplified results, creating a  profound ripple effect into a positive future.

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What do you think makes an effective leader? Share your thoughts with us below!

RELATED TOPICS:BALANCED LIFECALM STATE OF MINDEFFECTIVE LEADERSHIPHOW TO BE A GOOD PERSONHOW TO BE A LEADERHOW TO LEAD PEOPLELEADERSHIPLEADERSHIP THOUGHTSLEARN TO RELAXMEDITATION