So you want to be a leader? Or even more fun, you don’t want to be a leader, but have found yourself in a position where you have to step up? 😉
Likely every one of us will find ourselves in a leadership position at some point. Even if that point is “just” becoming a parent, it’s essential that we polish up our skills. (Because there’s nothing worse than a toddler who calls the shots, right?) 😒
Leadership is one of my favorite topics, and not because it comes naturally to me. (It’s more like being a lone wolf comes naturally to me, lol.) Working in network marketing woke me up to the fact leadership was a weaker point for me. As did becoming a mom of some very strong willed kids! One of whom is an ENFJ personality type, the natural born leader. It was sink or swim time for me! 😜
Not being one to accept my weakness and throw in the towel 😂, I decided to learn as much as possible about leadership and work on implementing it. Of course it’s a work in progress, as is everything in life. 😅 But today I’m sharing a few of my favorite points for developing the leader in you. Read on or Pin for later if you’re short on time.
#1 Lead Yourself First
We’ll start with the hardest point, one that you’ll (hopefully!) never quite finish working on: Your very own self.
Yup, no one is going to look to us as a leader when we don’t have our own act together. Of course this doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, and please don’t even think of pretending to be perfect. (We’ll talk about that in a bit.)
In leading ourselves, we have to be willing to look in the mirror and see what needs to improve. Maybe you’re struggling with self discipline or time management? Maybe it’s a quick temper, negative or judgmental attitude, low self esteem, or something else entirely. It will be different for everyone, and only you know what you need to work on. Okay, the people who are closest to you probably also know, but they may or may not be brave enough to tell you. 😜
So you know what your weaknesses are, but what then? This is where we have to have a growth mindset. You aren’t stuck like this (although sometimes it feels that way!) Humans are designed to keep learning and growing and we have to embrace the process. Just reading (or listening to books) is a fantastic place to start. The good news is, once you get into personal growth you’re going to becoming totally addicted to it.
If you feel stuck, look for mentors who have been there and can give you some words of wisdom. Are your own inner voice or habits are tripping you up? You just might need some AFT sessions to get to the root of the problem and change your thought patterns. (For those who don’t know about AFT yet, read this next.)
Remember that you can only lead people as far as you have gone yourself, so never stop pushing further. 😉
#2 Be a Contribution
Maybe some people picture a leader as someone who bosses other people around. And it’s like, oh yeah, I’d like to have a bunch of followers doing stuff for me. 🤣 Well, I hate to break the bubble of anyone who thinks that, but the truth is that being a leader is all about serving others. So if you want to improve your leadership skills, get used to working harder than everyone else. 😆
Remember that good leader doesn’t boss others, they inspire others. How? #1: By doing the hard work and showing them how it’s done. And #2: By believing in them, holding them as capable, and overall treating them like gold.
Having a title or getting a promotion isn’t really going to make us a leader if we haven’t put in the work. So wherever you are right now, refine that work ethic and focus on being a contribution. Think of how you can add value to others whenever you interact with people. Treat the person checking you out at the grocery store just as well as you would the president of your company. Be the person who makes everyone feel like a million bucks. 🤩
Be the person who looks for solutions…
Because finding all the problems and presenting them to your boss doesn’t count as a contribution? 😜 Every time you run into difficulty, train your brain to start finding ways to fix the issue at hand. Maybe you don’t always have authority to implement your ideas, but if you get in the habit of presenting possible solutions instead of complaints, you’ll be well on your way to being a leader.
Psst… Now, don’t take this solving problems thing to mean you should start running around solving problems for everyone. I imagine many natural leaders have gotten lost in the endless cycle of being “the person who can fix it all”.
Here is my ninja coaching/leadership tip of the day: When someone comes to you with a problem, your job isn’t to solve it for them. Your job is to ask great questions, draw out their inner wisdom, and empower them to solve it for themselves.Ninja Leadership Tip: When someone comes to you with a problem, it isn't your job to solve the problem for them. It IS your job to ask great questions, draw out their inner wisdom, and empower them to solve it for themselves. Click To Tweet
I know some of you are thinking “Well, you don’t know the people I have to deal with!” 😬 Hey, I know working with people can test one’s patience to the max. (I’m a mom of three, remember?) HA! But I still am a believer in human potential and that most people will rise to the occasion when they are treated with respect.
You see, viewing others as competent and capable can be transformative for them, and it helps you rise to a whole new level of leadership. When you learn to draw out the abilities in others, you start to raise up new leaders, which is exactly what you want. Great leaders bring out the best in people, which also frees them up do more, since they aren’t stuck putting out fires. Try it and see what happens! 😉
#3 Set Boundaries
So this one is super important, and better figured out sooner than later. You see, the more you put yourself out there and people see you doing cool stuff, the more those people will ask if you’ll do some cool stuff for them too. 😆 It’s times like this that having good boundaries will be imperative.
To be a leader, you have to get comfortable with saying NO. If you’re like me, you love making people happy and your default is jumping to YES. Unfortunately, if we don’t nip this in the bud, our priorities will always be at the mercy of someone else’s priorities. That’s a sure fire recipe for getting nowhere!
If you struggle with boundaries and people pleasing, you’ll want to save this article to read next:
And remember, if you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader. Be a gluten free chocolate chip cookie. 🍪😆
#4 Be Yourself
Have you ever gotten sucked into the vortex of studying other leaders to see how they do it? It can be a maddening process where you lose track of your own inner wisdom in the search for the “secret sauce”.
While obviously businesses like network marketing thrive on duplication, I have noticed something that all the best leaders have in common: They are uniquely themselves. And the most admired ones are the most outspoken, vulnerable, and unapologetic about who they are. They don’t try to be chocolate chip cookies, they just are who they are and you can take it or leave it.
While your business system might call for duplication, who you are cannot be duplicated. And as long as you are hiding who you really are, shrinking your talents, and playing small, success is going to elude you. To move forward, you’re going to have to learn to play full out with the deck you’ve been given.
So what good things have you been hiding? What does your intuition tell you is needed to progress? And yes, sometimes there is a lot of emotional baggage involved in lifting away the veil we’ve been hiding under. If you come up against more emotional resistance than you can handle, once again AFT is a great option. All the hard work will be worth it!
When we live in a way that is true to who we are and use the gifts we have been given, we give others permission and inspiration to do the same. And that leads to leaders creating more leaders! (Could I say lead or leaders any more times in one sentence?!) 😅
So what do you think?
Those are my tips for developing your leadership skills! It was probably more than four, huh? 😄 What was your biggest takeaway from this post? And what ideas would you add? I’d love to hear from you.
Before you go, I think you’d really love my free Do Less & Live More Workbook. Since you’ve read this far I know you are determined to make a difference and you can’t have unnecessary stuff taking up your time and energy. If that sounds about right, grab it below. Thanks for visiting!
Need more help on your leadership journey? See what personal coaching can do for you here.