7 Facts You Must Know Before You Can Really Lead

When people think about being a successful leader, they nearly always focus on themselves, how they can improve, and what they want to achieve. However, it is only by looking at how we affect others we truly see where our strengths and weaknesses lie. Below are some of the goals a successful leader will strive to inspire in those around them. You can inspire by example, and by honest communication.

  1. Courage – It can be easy for team members to fall into the rut of fitting in with the crowd, and saying what they think will keep everyone happy. This is not conducive with innovation. Nearly all visionaries in history became so by going in a different direction to everyone else.
  1. Empathy – To foster a thriving workplace full of productive and happy staff, they must all be a constructive part of the team. To achieve this every single person must feel relevant, and listened to. This can only be achieved by learning to understand their viewpoint.
  1. Creativity – According to Einstein “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Encouraging staff to be creative in their work and problem solving will create an innovative environment, where people are confident to experiment with ways to improve.
  1. Teamwork – Your team will be most productive when they work as a well-oiled unit. This cohesion can be greatly increased when the team feels more like a community, built on solid honest relationships, mutual respect, and a desire to help each other.
  1. Passion – Being a leader is not just about assertiveness, it is about personal connections with individuals. You must be a complete human being, not a perfect one. Everybody has weaknesses and feels vulnerable occasionally. Don’t be afraid to show this side of yourself, it will help you and your team to relate to each other better.
  1. Honesty – It is often seen in management, a leader is more concerned with keeping the people more senior happy, than the team he spends his days with. We must have the strength to always speak the truth, even when it’s detrimental to our own position. This does not mean we have to be insensitive, but we must always express it clearly. It is sad that consistent honesty quite often surprises people, but with so many passive people trying to please everyone, it can be like a breath of fresh air when someone speaks the truth. This will encourage your team to do the same, and build mutual respect.
  1. 7. Improvement – By showing a readiness to learn and ask for help, you will encourage your staff to do the same. By helping them to overcome their fears, and improve their weaknesses, you will not only improve as a team, but you will also create a sense of mutual gratitude. This desire to improve will become a habit, and leave a legacy of constant growth.

Leadership is solving problems. The day staff stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.

Colin Powell
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