Contibutor: Katie Karpinski
Chances are you clicked on this post because you want to become a better leader.
Well I’ve got good news-- you’ve already taken the first step!
The best leaders are those who actively seek out new information, processes, and skills that can help them and their team succeed. Having a willingness to learn and being open to new and challenging experiences lays the right foundation for your leadership journey-- whether this journey is just beginning or if you’re well along your path. With that in mind, keep reading to learn about 3 things every leader should do.
Establish Your Values
Being a leader is hard. It is not for the faint of heart. As a leader, it is your job to not only manage and coordinate your team, but to inspire them and align them with your company goals and vision. This means catering to a variety of personalities, and the strengths and weaknesses that arise from those personalities. People will challenge you in more ways than you can possibly imagine, and you will need to evaluate what your priorities are. Therefore, it’s important to establish your own set of values. Not only will these personal values guide you through difficult decisions, but (if displayed properly) they will also be reflected through your team and the work they do together. It’s important to verbally communicate these values to your team, and even more important to communicate them through example. Remember-- you are responsible for setting the tone and atmosphere for your team. Make sure it’s a good one.
Emotional Intelligence is Key
As previously mentioned, being a leader means you must motivate, encourage, and manage people with different personalities, backgrounds, and values. These differences can lead to conflict very easily. Even if you establish strong team values, there’s no guarantee that certain members will get along with each other, or even you! Therefore, it’s important that you develop your emotional intelligence. Put simply, emotional intelligence is the art of interpreting and properly reacting to the emotions of others and yourself. Emotional cues are often nonverbal and can be hard to identify, which is why many professionals choose to receive formal training in this area. Having high levels of emotional intelligence will help you manage conflict and motivate your team members on an individual level. Even more so, it will help you manage your own emotions and better position you for a successful leadership experience.
Keep a Learning Mindset
The most important thing all leaders should do is be patient and remember that leadership is a lifelong process- not a destination. Being a good leader isn’t something that can be learned overnight. It takes time and experience. You will fail. You will make mistakes. You will be uncertain and confused at times. Don’t be discouraged when this happens. Instead, consider them opportunities to learn. You will not always have complete control over your situation or outcomes, but you will always have control over your attitude and mindset. Try to find the value in these setbacks and use what you learn in future situations.
These three steps are just the beginning. Successful leaders should be learning and growing on a regular basis. Formal training can be especially helpful for new leaders in need of a strong foundation and guidance on next steps moving forward. There are also training programs available for seasoned leaders in need of development in a certain area. If you’re interested in exploring the leadership courses available to you, please click here: https://www.csuohio.edu/business/professional-development-center/leadership