The Top 5 Leadership Lessons to Helping You Lead Effectively
Earning recognition as a great leader isn’t something that most successful professionals strive for. In fact, it’s actually just the opposite because success in leadership comes from having humility, admitting you don’t know everything and asking questions.
After all, leadership is really about people, and there are a few common themes that permeate the minds of the most accomplished among us. Here are 5 of the best leadership lessons to date.
No. 1: Pursue Lifelong Learning As A Strategy
The difference between being average and exceptional is often as simple as having the ability to look at yourself in the mirror, recognizing that you don’t know it all. Education is a lifelong experience, not just the 4 or 5 years spent earning a degree.
While this is time well-spent, formal education is only a small sliver of learning. Education continues after school, transitioning into self-help and intellectual property. The mark of a great leader is realizing–despite success–that there are still people who can help, and that it’s okay to say, “I don’t know, what do you think?”
Great leaders learn everything they can about their business: its markets, competition, strengths, weaknesses etc.
No. 2: Recognize That You Are Your Own Brand
All of us, whether we do it intentionally or not, are creating our own personal brand every minute of every day. People we come into contact with at our job, in our families, even friends make impressions about who we are. Great leaders invest in their brand. They do this by sharing who they want to be through values and behaviors. Analyze yourself. Where are your strengths and weaknesses? How do you choose to be perceived? Embrace the brand that is you and make certain it reflects what you want it to be.
No. 3: Become Fool Proof
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Great leaders don’t have all the answers, but they tend to know when someone is not being straight with them. They surround themselves with truth tellers.
It’s easy to hear “yes” all the time, but it’s not productive. Exceptional leaders have confidence that comes from knowing the team is making a valuable contribution to the cause, despite it being difficult to hear. And they have the agility, flexibility and capability to shift focus on a dime when necessary.
No. 4: Develop An Inquisitive Mind
What do people most like to do? Talk about themselves. Who controls the conversation? The person who asks the questions. Leaders who ask the right open-ended questions learn about the people with whom they interact. It’s easier to relate, build trust and make meaningful connections. They’re never complacent, but develop an inquisitive, curious mind.
No. 5: Slow Down And Process
The human brain is wired to survive, and the “fight or flight” response may cause us to cut and run or get defensive instinctively. Yet, when we react quickly, we avoid the tough conversations that leadership requires. Taking a step back to process before responding is always a good strategy, leading to rational decisions.
Leadership is about people. You can’t lead without followers, yet you can’t have followers without being a good follower yourself. Leading effectively and building trusting relationships comes from asking for help when needed, being true to who you are, staying inquisitive, and knowing how to relate to the most important people around you.