It’s not wrong to suggest that there is a leader in all of us. The question is, how to help each person find their voice and get it out. There are certain qualities that some people develop and bring about naturally, while for others, it might be a little hard. However, the result is always the same; polished, well-known, and graceful leaders are the people we look up to and get inspired from. A great leader is not just someone who influences the public, but who the people put their blind trust in. I could write on this topic for days, as a matter of fact, I have a book on leadership coming out early next year. But for now, here are 6 tips to help people become better leaders.
1. Know your vision and be able to “Sell” it
I have read countless books on this topic, I have followed exceptional leaders, I have lead 10’s of thousands of people over the years, and the one over-arching and most important first step of being a great leader, is that they know where they are going and can share that vision with you. Not only do they know where they are going with exceptional detail, but they know how to share, or “Sell”, that vision with others. People inherently want to be part of something bigger, and when a good visionary who knows how to employ great leadership tactics, well, they can move mountains.
2. Know your people
The next most important tip for being a good leader is knowing your people. A leader caters to a group of people and represents them. For this, it is imperative that he knows his people. Sitting with them and simply interacting in a multitude of environments gives you the opportunity to know the people you are representing. This allows for the people you lead to know you, and you them. You become more real to your constituents, not just some talking head, and by you knowing who they are, you and they become relatable. Speaking to your followers directly, pertaining to a personal matter, will do so much more to build ties between the leader and their followers, and makes the followers devoutly loyal.
Lastly, in knowing your people you must be able to know how to deploy your resources. To do this well, you must know your people’s strengths and weaknesses, getting to know your people allows you to assess these talents and opportunities first hand. A great leader is able to know when they are challenging someone to grow with a big task, or if they are merely in over their head.
3. Always think long-term
A big part of a leader’s job is also challenging the group to consider long-term ramifications of our natural tendency to be focused on the short-term gain. It is again a human tendency to focus on personal and / or short-term rewards, however, an effective leader knows how to “Sell” that vision of the long-term solutions. The kind of solutions that pay dividends for eons to come. Short-term wins are relatively easy, but it is the leader that plays to win the war vs. the short-term battle that people talk about for years long after they have moved on. Think leaders who have changed entire industries; Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, although maybe not ideal leaders in their overall skills, their long-term vision was amazing.
4. Know the pulse of your people
You need not forget that the people you represent are your only real asset, and without them, you are but an individual. So, respecting the public opinion is also essential. By knowing the temperature of your followers, you can make more strategic decisions like to push on through a difficult challenge, or to hold up and prepare accordingly. If your group is weary, tired, or frustrated from recent setbacks. It may be wise to allow your team to gain some ground or earn some wins before trying to push on, otherwise you may well lose them.
5. Always lead by example
Lead by example, always. People never follow a person who they don’t admire. It is very important to appeal to the public eye. This is not achieved by being the odd one out of the crowd, be likeable and approachable, but draw your boundaries, and through soft skills, humility, and respect you will win over your constituents. People blindly follow someone who is trustworthy and truthful, so make certain that you are what you preach, no one follows a hypocrite.
6. Be self-less
Lastly, leadership is a self-less role. I know everyone wants to be the man or woman at the top, because they get all the recognition and praise, and yes that is true. However, if you want to be a leader for your own success, you chose poorly. Being a leader is not about you, it must be about the group. Truly great leaders know it was the entire organization that made each success possible, and they are humble enough to remind everyone of that fact each chance they get. They know all too well, without all those followers, a leader is just one person, but with 100’s or 1000’s at their back they lead armies of people to achieve phenomenal tasks!
I hope you found value in this, and if by chance you were asking yourself, what does Goal Setting have to do with Leadership, well, as I stated the most important skill of a great leader is having a vision and being able to share it. That means being able to set great goals, sharing it with their followers, and creating a plan to execute to achieve it.
Everything that I review and talk about in my book “Success with Goals.”
For more insights or additional coaching on how to be an effective leader, visit my site http://www.ericwhitmoyer.com/coaching.html and check out our programs.
Have a phenomenal weekend!