4 Simple Leadership skills:
Do you remember the first time you were assigned to be a leader? Chances are that it was in 1st grade when your teacher told all your little friends to line up behind you and follow you to the outdoor play area or the lunchroom. In your own small way, you were in charge! Everybody had to go exactly where you were going, no questions asked. Just follow the leader. YOU! Ahhhh, the thrill of it! Some people never shake off that great feeling of being at the head of the pack entirely. If you’re one of these people, then keep on reading.
For most of you, those days in elementary school probably seem like ancient history; by now, you are most likely being led by a pyramid of bosses, (and their bosses… and their bosses.) Are you bummed out that your days of being a leader are a thing of the past? Don’t be.
There are four easy ways that you can reclaim your rightful position as a true leader, even if you’re not actually the boss. If you want to make more of an impact in the workplace and show yourself as being an indispensable staff member, it’s time to start honing down your leadership skills any way you can, regardless of your current position.
1. Be the Go-To Problem Solver
Some people have a problem to every solution; please do not be that person. People look to their leaders to figure out how to deal with problems. Just like any other product needs branding, you need it too. You have to get the word out that you are the best person to help your team resolve their problems.
I am not trying to suggest that you learn about every potential problem that could arise in your department or organization. I am simply suggesting that you show your co-workers and managers that you have mastered specific problem-solving skills that can help your team. You don’t necessarily need to have ALL the answers…you just need to show that you are engaging, going the extra mile and having excellent ideas and methodologies to arrive at the most appropriate solution.
How can you achieve this goal? One of the critical factors in gaining your team’s trust is getting to know who they are as a whole and who they are as individuals, and it’s not all about finding out about their professional backgrounds. Another great way to get to know your team and become their go-to leader is to organize social events and fun outings for everyone. (If you’re the one doing the inviting, just watch how people will gravitate to you as their leader.) You don’t have to be the leader of the department (yet) but leading a fun group activity is also a great start!
2. Teach Team Members to Do Things for Themselves
A natural leader is someone who offers their assistance and support to other people and helps them improve their skills. They don’t actually DO the work for the other person; instead, they guide and encourage people to develop themselves and become successful.
Picture this scenario: You have a co-worker that is trying to finish a project that you have mastered over and over. You know you could save her a lot of time and stress by just doing it for her, especially since she is asking you for help. (Remember, you’re a leader, people seek you out).
It’s essential that you resist the temptation to finish her work and let her claim it as her own. Not only is it not fair to you for her to claim your work, but the truth is that it is not fair to her either. The better choice would be to explain the process to her, be available to answer her questions, and allow her to finish the task on her own. This way, you both win.
3. Remember to Keep Focused On End-Goals and Final Outcomes
Most people feel that accomplishing a specific task is the principal element that defines success. True leaders understand that success is defined by how the big picture looks. They have the natural ability to look at individual accomplishments within a process and see the measurable outcomes that they represent.
The next time you wrap up a work assignment, try looking at it from a broad angle. How did your team’s work help the organization as a whole? How did it contribute to a successful overall result?
Examples of what I do: are Patients’ safety and physicians’ satisfaction. Once you have clearly identified your vision, share your insights with your team, and then ask them for their views.
While you’re at it, why not take the lead and suggest that the whole team go out to celebrate? After all, that’s what a true leader would do.
4. Recognize and Verbalize Your Appreciation
Most people enjoy being acknowledged by their coworkers for a job well done, in fact, studies have shown that many people are extremely motivated to go above and beyond in the workplace because they seek approval and appreciation from their coworkers. A leader that understands the importance of this workplace dynamic will remember to publicly acknowledge that a coworker’s effort was instrumental in having an excellent job. And if your company doesn’t already have an “extra effort” program in place, why not suggest it to your higher-ups?
First, by making the suggestion to your superiors, you’ll be demonstrating to them that you are a thoughtful individual with initiatives and who is not afraid to take risks.
Second, (especially if the program becomes a reality), you will be a hero among your coworkers who will be grateful to you for getting the bosses to notice their hard work.
And remember, if you already have your own subordinate coworkers on your team; never forget the two most important words, “Thank You.” Or even better “Thank you so much!” Say them meaningfully and say them often.
So, where do you go from here?
How can you transform the above theoretical suggestions into real steps towards becoming a leader?
Start by setting attainable goals for yourself that you can track and measure. Your current title might not be impressive, but once your activities demonstrate a positive and tangible financial impact on the bottom line, you’ll be well on your way to snagging a coveted leadership role.
Still, it’s important to remember not to be too hard on yourself and expect things to happen overnight. Most of the world’s top business people had to slowly but surely work their way up the leadership ladder. A true leader understands that it’s the career steps along the way that often have value on the journey to becoming a leader. Therefore, they don’t seek to skip over those steps; instead, they appreciate, savor and enjoy them as part of the process of growing into an effective and popular leader.
The more your team is successful, the more YOU and the ORGANIZATION are successful!
Always keep the positive attitude.
Always Say “We “not “I “
Coach not drive
Ask and request not Command.