Leading is not about doing the jobs that other people are incapable of. Leaders are those who can inspire their team members to go the extra mile to achieve the mutual goals. The most important leadership quality is one’s capability to develop relationships with people who are very different than themselves. That is why there are no right or wrong ways to lead, it all boils down to how well youmake an influence on your team.
Not everyone is a born leader, but anyone can be prepared to become one.
So how can you nurture leadership skills from your current position? Here are four golden rules that all successful leaders follow and you should, too.
Always see the bigger picture
No matter what you do, don’t treat your day job as merely an income source. Even if your role is only a minimal part of the organisation (for now), you can still make it worthwhile by adjusting your perspective.
The least yet most profound thing that you can do to improve yourself is observing how your seniors do their jobs. Although each department operates independently, they still have to work together in order to achieve the business goals. That is why you should learn about the functionalities of all departments, about how they support your team and vice versa.
If you want to become a leader, you must first be able to align your team’s goals with different parts of the business. You wouldn’t want to be caught off guard when asked to assist the other teams.
Think of your organisation as a giant machine whereby you are one of the cogs that keep it running. With a full understanding of the company’s mechanics, you’ll have a better control over your role. This knowledge will also help you identify which area you can improve to make workflow more efficient.
Seeing the big picture is the first step to establishing an actionable plan for everything that you do.
Competition doesn’t work, collaboration does
Let’s reflect on the previous rule, every employee’s goal (at the workplace) should be aligned with the organisation’s business goal. So competition should be reserved to boost individual performance, it shouldn’t be to outshine your peers.
With that said, you should utilise your skills to help your colleagues perform their roles better. For example, if you are able to complete your assignment ahead of the deadline, don’t hesitate to assist your team with other tasks to enhance the overall productivity.
Don’t underestimate the power of collaboration, both internal and external. You must establish a mindset that being able to do something on your own is not an achievement. Instead, the greatest success is being able to bring out the best in every team member through collaboration.
Understand the value of empowerment
Do you think that a leader always knows how to complete their tasks in the best way possible? Well, below is a counter-intuitive fact about leadership.
While the education system tries to mould everyone to follow the same rules, the workplace is where you break the mould. And a good leader is someone who can help you do just that. So it’s not your personal achievements that count, you can’t be a leader if you fail to help others realise their potential.
Don’t just focus on what you’re supposed to do, be the person to initiate discussion whenever there’s a spark of new ideas. Gradually, you will learn how to encourage people to go beyond what they are taught to do in order to achieve greatness.
Lead yourself first
You don’t need to be a genius to become a leader. In fact, your daily habits are what build leadership foundation.
Now, think of a habit that you’ve always wanted to pick up and practice it every day. No matter how challenging it may get, you must encourage (or even force) yourself to maintain that habit.
Do note that self-discipline is different than pushing your limits. You motivate yourself to accomplish things that will enable you to achieve greater heights; it can be as simple as waking up an hour earlier to run 2km or read more pages each day until you finish a book.
A rule of thumb is to continue setting new (and higher) goals every time you achieve your initial target. Make sure that you wake up every day to be a better version of yourself than yesterday. And that’s how you can unleash the leader within you.