Before you can get an answer to this question, you first have to answer a couple of questions.
First, you must ask yourself who or what you are leading. A leader without followers is just someone taking a walk, as the saying goes. Are you leading a person or a team? From what position are you leading? Do you lead from the front by modeling the way? Do you lead from behind by pushing and supporting your team? Do you lead from the top barking orders with no insight on what your leadership does to the people working?
Second, what do you mean by better? Are you looking for a promotion or trying to increase your influence? Does your leadership repertoire need to expand for diversity or do you need training in emotional intelligence? Is your communication lacking finesse or do you need to tone down? Are you wanting to change your leadership style?
I can’t answer either of these questions for you, but I’m happy to help you work through them.
Once we’ve got answers to those questions, we can start answering the first question, “How do you become a better leader?”
One broad statement encompasses every answer to the questions I posed:
The more experience you get leading, the more your leadership abilities should improve. Of course, this is only true if you are willing to do a few things along the way:
- Learn from your mistakes. You’re going to mess up. Don’t spend too much time mourning the mistake. Ask yourself why you made the mistake, what you could have done differently, and what you need to do to prevent it from happening again.
- Celebrate your victories. You’ll often feel like victories are few and far between. Celebrate them. Congratulate those who succeeded with you, and celebrate your work. You are your biggest fan.
- Take chances. Nothing great ever happened because someone played it safe. Try something new, innovate, be creative, do something never before tried. If you’re not uncomfortable occasionally, you’re not dreaming big enough.
- Question the why. What is your motivation? Why do you want to implement that policy? what are you trying to accomplish with that decision? Ask yourself why you are doing everything you do. If you’re not intentional, then you’re just going through the motions.
- Accept criticism. You’re not perfect, and people will point it out. Listen when other people have a criticism of you. Sometimes they just want to gripe at you, but often you’ll learn something about yourself. When you hear criticism and don’t understand how someone could think that about you, ask others to help you see what might be in a blind spot for you.
- Give credit; take blame. As a leader, your primary purpose is to influence the actions of others toward a common goal and a desired outcome. When those people accomplish the task, give them all the credit. They did the work after all. When they fail to accomplish their mission, however, that reflects your leadership. Many people have wisely said that everything rises and falls on leadership, so take the blame.
Question: What is missing in this list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.