Taking the next step from team member to an effective leader isn’t easy. Leaders have much more to shoulder than the average employee. They must model the behaviour they wish to see in their team; they must be resilient, strong, authentic, kind, and courageous.
Bravery comes in many different forms. As an aspiring leader, these are the types of courage you’ll need to become a great and effective leader.
You need the courage to…
Stop trying to be someone you’re not; who you think others expect you to be. Being inauthentic is being insincere. You will never have strong relationships in your career or stand out if you act this way. Being unapologetically you is what endears you to others, and your authenticity allows you to make a bigger impact in many areas of your leadership.
Chase a career that fits with your purpose
You don’t need to have some grand vision for your ‘why’. Not everyone wants to be the next prime minister or the CEO of a multinational company – and that’s okay.
Discover your purpose and what you value the most, then aim to make that part of your work. You’ll have a lot more confidence when you’re sure that what you’re doing is helping you towards your dream career.
Not always going for the easy option and play it safe
Bad things happen in life, whether you avoid risks or take them. So, while playing it safe means you only potentially avoid a challenge, you’re also missing out on opportunities for growth and improvement. Those who do great things do so by taking a chance and stepping out of their comfort zone. Leaders who are willing to be uncomfortable and take risks are the most inspiring.
Ask for feedback – positive and negative
Any emerging leader must understand that seeking regular feedback is key to learning and growing. It’s not enough to wait for performance reviews, as they are usually spaced far apart and by then it could be too late to get back on track. Use any feedback to start changing things that aren’t working, including your approaches.
It can hurt hearing negative feedback, especially when it’s delivered by someone who isn’t practised in doing so effectively, so you must be able to control your reactions. Accepting the feedback you’ve asked for, no matter what it is or how it’s said, will show people that it’s okay to be honest with you. That’s how you get the most unbiased and effective feedback.
Let others take the spotlight, and give credit when and where it’s due
The most empowering leaders are those who have the trust in their team members to let them take charge when a suitable opportunity arises. Being brave and relinquishing control when it’s in the best interests of the team, the job, or the company as a whole allows others to grow and step into their own leadership.
You should also be sure not to take credit for things that your team have done or suggested, or they will stop doing their best work. Recognition is a powerful motivator.
Strongly and effectively communicate with management
Even if you have mastered the art of communication with your team and with clients, you are still not as effective as you could be without being able to speak up to those above you.
Much like communicating with your team it’s important that you understand your leaders so that you can adapt your communication style to suit their decision-making styles and goals. Your management will also respect you a lot more if you are brave enough to deliver bad news in a confident and truthful way.
Get back up every time you stumble or fall
Everybody faces challenges and setbacks. What sets great leaders apart is that even if they have faced countless rejections they will still keep trying. The lesson is simple: you can never give up because that’s no way to reach your goals. You never know when your next attempt will be the successful one, so you cannot afford to stop trying if you want to make a difference.
This resilience is also infectious and inspiring; it’s definitely a trait you want to impart on your team members.
Nelson Mandela says it perfectly: “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” And how do we conquer fear? By being sure in who we are, what we’re doing and why. This is what you draw on to find and harness your courage.
If you aren’t confident in your courage, then my Courageous Leadership One Day Workshop can help! You’ll learn how to use the qualities you already possess and turn them into courage. Hurry now to secure your spot – tickets are only $149 and are flying out the door!