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 Let Your Inner Leader Out

The 5 Ways On How To Let Your Inner Leader Out

Dateline: September 10th, 2020

By: Ben Grant


For some reason, many people think that such words as “leadership” or “leadership qualities” refer only to extraordinary people. But these words are not as special as they might seem to many. What is more, every person has the potential to become a leader, the only thing you need to do is wake certain qualities up. If you are doubting your skills, then our tips will help you reboot your inner leader. Below you will find out about the most common problems that prevent you from enhancing your inner leader, and the top five tips to help you solve them.

Why Don’t Most People Show Leadership in Life?

There are several common reasons that prevent many people from becoming leaders.

  • Unwillingness to Stand Out From the Crowd – Most people like to “live like everyone else” and go with the flow. In most cases, this is the result of their childhood experience. After showing an initiative at an early age, they received rejection or criticism. Therefore, the majority strive not to stand out from society, and calmly do what they are asked or ordered to do.
  • Internal Fears – Many people cannot reveal their inner leader due to the presence of fears and low self-esteem. The most common fear is the fear of failure. By the way, all this interferes not only with the manifestation of leadership qualities but also with living the way they really want to live. It is extremely difficult for many to cope with these fears on their own, but it is even more difficult to decide to fix these problems with the help of psychologists. Therefore, only a few become successful and can show their leadership potential.
  • The Misconception About Inner Leaders – Some people think that they will be able to show their leadership talent when needed. But in practice, they never reveal their potential. What is more, such people purposefully miss many opportunities and think that they will prove themselves next time.
  • Disbelief in Your Own Leadership Qualities – Many people think that leaders are born, not made. This stops them from awakening their inner leader and somehow expressing their individuality. Such people admire their successful peers but do not even know that they can do the same.

If at least one of the reasons seems to be about you, then it’s time to work on yourself and awaken your inner leader. It is important to remember that you have to follow the road to success day after day, since you cannot arrive at your final destination instantly. Therefore, the following tips will help you change your life.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Five Simple but Effective Tips to Awaken the Inner Leader:

 

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1. Look Inside Yourself

In order to become a leader, you need to start working on your personality. To lead other people and make them listen to you, you need to learn to lead yourself and be able to hear yourself first. It is a lot of work, but it is the key to success. The ability to lead yourself will allow you to become a leader for others. Consider the following 3 questions:

  • Why do I want to be a leader?
  • What will the development of leadership potential bring?
  • How do I need to act and think?

When you start to understand yourself, learn to listen to yourself, and put everything on the shelves, then you can start to act. Therefore, the first thing to do is to begin to understand what leadership means to you. 

Try to return to the above questions as often as possible, since, as soon as you start working hard in order to better yourself, your answers will change. These responses will guide you towards unlocking your inner leader.

2. Find and Accept Your Uniqueness

It is extremely important for you to bring out your uniqueness. Most people think that they are not that different from other people but, in fact, this is not at all the case. 

List your strengths and unique abilities. Each leader knows his or her strengths, and each person has them. Most people think that it’s necessary to work on weaknesses, taking your strengths for granted. But to awaken leadership qualities, you need to start by working out the strengths. This does not mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to weaknesses at all, surely, you should work on fixing the critical ones too. But keeping the focus on your strengths will help you to boost your self-esteem and awaken your inner leadership potential.

3. Leverage Your Public Speaking Skills

Unfortunately, many people have a fear of engaging in discussions, and this may be the result of negative experiences. If this is familiar to you, then you need to learn how to fix it. Perhaps people are not listening to you because you speak incoherently or not clearly. Therefore, reading classical literature and video recording your speeches will become paramount in solving these problems.

Whilst everything is obvious with the first, the questions may arise about the second one. Pick a topic and start talking about it on video. After that, see what you have done, and your mistakes in your speech will immediately become apparent to you. Be sure to write down each problem, and the next time you do this exercise, try to fix it. By the way, this exercise will help not only improve your speech but also help to cope with the barrier of starting a conversation.

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain

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4. Learn to Control Emotions

Most likely, you paid attention to the fact that you are more engaged when listening to those people who are emotionally balanced. Often such people emit positive emotions, but they never overplay them. So the next challenge will be to learn to control your emotions, calmly respond to criticism and always keep your emotional state under control. Real leaders are hard to drive mad. The previously mentioned exercise with video recording can help you with this too. For example, you may start a private video blog, and make a short video every day analyzing situations that happened, your emotions, and the ways you responded to them. 

5. Be Yourself

Staying true to yourself and your principles is an essential skill of every leader. Most likely, in the early stages of working on your inner leader enhancement, you begin to follow the example of some famous leaders and copy their demeanor. Hence, the best thing is to reveal your strong sides and be authentic. Of course, you can and should take examples from great leaders, but you don’t need to copy them. Be unique and true to yourself!

Now you know what you need to do to become a leader for yourself and for other people. The main thing to remember is that leadership is what you make of it. When you learn to control yourself, understand your actions, improve your speaking skills, then you begin to develop as a leader further. Implement these five tips, and get a solid chance to succeed.

What do you think is the most defining characteristic of a great leader? Share your thoughts with us below!

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