How to Become a Leader

Contrary to many notions, leadership isn’t an exclusive club for those “born with it”. While leadership relies on some inherited traits, it also depends on training and experience. Many elements can be acquired and if you link these with the desire to achieve then nothing can stop you from becoming leader. So, get started.

1. Believe you can become leader
Leadership is function that requires set of skills. Any skill can be learned, strengthened and enhanced.

2. Have burning desire to lead
Leaders need causes and causes need leaders. Are you ‘fired-up’ and enthused enough to get something done? Have clear sense of mission, focus, band-wagon to leap on and passion to achieve.

3. Observe leaders
What makes then different from others. Study biographies and explore what makes them exemplars in the art of leadership.

4. Understand what leadership entails
You must be able to:
? Challenge the status quo: seek out opportunities to change, grow, innovate, improve, experiment, take risks.
? Inspire shared vision: enlist others to share the vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes and dreams.
? Empower others to act: promote cooperative goals, give others power by providing choice, assigning critical tasks and offering visible support.
? Encourage the heart: recognise individual contributions, celebrate team accomplishments.
5. Learn by leading
The more opportunities you have to serve in leadership roles, the more likely you’ll develop the skills to lead.

6. Volunteer for leadership roles
Look for ways to broaden your base of leadership experience beyond the workplace.
Volunteer for leadership roles in community groups and associations.
Seek tougher assignments. They might involve greater risk, but have greater payoff for leadership development and promotional aspects.

7. Learn from your experiences
Reflect on what you’ve learned from your successes and failures. Ask yourself:
? Where and when did the episode take place? Who was involved? Who initiated it? Why did I get involved? How did I challenge myself and others?
? How did I generate enthusiasm in others?
? How did I involve others?
? How did I set an example?
? How did we celebrate success?
? What lessons did I learn about myself and leadership?

8. Study yourself
List your developmental needs – public speaking, understanding change, handling people, motivating others, etc.
9. Learn about group action
Understand group dynamics. We don’t motivate teams with whip, we give them dream and help them reach it – that’s leadership.

10. Keep learning
Good leaders are always learning. Devise plan to improve your leadership, including formal study, and work to this plan.
Leadership rarely just happens for most people, it’s something that needs to be constantly worked at.
And remember: manager makes good team work well. good manager makes an average team work well. true leader can change the whole attitude, philosophy and spirit of any group of people.

From Just about Everything Manager Needs to Know, by Neil Flanagan & Jarvis Finger, Plum Press. Copy information to email:[email protected]; fax: (04) 528 9916

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