The 10 keys to becoming a leader
You have always been the “president of the class”, the ideal student, the official leader invested by the form master and acknowledged, or at least paid lip service to, by your classmates. However, you have always felt it wasn’t you they followed, it wasn’t you they admired. The class always had an unofficial leader. And the group revolved around him, not around you. Now you are a grown man and the history repeats itself. What do you still need to do to be the actual number 1 and not just the official leader?
What you need is something that you can discover, learn, exercise or assimilate at any age. Make up your mind and start being a genuine leader after going through the following step-by-step leadership “course”.
1. Assert your personality
You have to know what you want. And to express yourself boldly, even when you are in disagreement with more or less important – according to your standards – individuals. Your standards are less important than the way you assert them. Your attitude may prove that you have your own limits, but most important is that it will certainly prove you have a set of values you are committed to, that you are not afraid to disclose it, and that this value system is not negotiable. In other words, that you are not afraid to show that you have a strong personality.
2. Learn to say “No”
Take 30 days to do to the following exercise: filter the requests you receive, saying “No” straightforwardly where your answer used to be a forced, half-hearted “mmm… yeah…”. Make sure you do this tactfully and very politely. I am sure that after being around for all these years you have finally got the point: you have nothing to gain from being always “the good guy”, always ready to take anything from anyone. You must know what you want and set boundaries against those who show no respect to you.
3. Assert yourself in a tactful manner
A leader takes responsibility and makes decisions for the group he belongs to (and wants to be in charge of). Be the one who settles things once and for all. The one who acts. The one who organizes. The one who guides the group without imposing his authority in a disturbing, ostentatious manner. A leader never remains trapped in a dead end situation. He is the one who gets things going, makes them advance and takes full responsibility for both success and failure.
4. Take the floor
Public speaking is a crucial exam which helps you build your confidence in yourself and in your ability to establish relationships with others. Here are some “tricks” meant to put you in the shoes of a good speaker and leader right away:
– make eye contact with your audience: nothing gives a worse impression than someone who keeps his eyes on the floor or runs his gaze along the walls while he speaks;
– adopt a dominant posture: straight spine, shoulders back, chest out – not only will it send a message about self-assurance, but it will also make you feel self-confident;
– cover as much space as you can: if you are on a stage, walk from one end to the other; if you are in a conference room, emphasize your ideas through expressive gestures; use wide, but slow movements (hasty movements aggress the audience and break the flow of your speech);
– control your voice – speak neither too loud, nor too low – and keep calm in any situation.
5. Act in accordance with what you say
People are judged according to their actions – you hear that all the time. Words have no value. Those who talk about themselves too much do not enjoy credibility. Conversely, people respect those who talk less and do more. True value needs no words. It knows it’s there and that’s that.
6. Work out
Now what does exercise have to do with leadership? It has very much to do, as a matter of fact: exercise strengthens your self-assurance. Even at the micro (biological) level, because during a workout session your body produces more hormones: dopamine (the pleasure hormone), endorphins (the happiness hormones), adrenaline and norepinephrine (the hormones that boost your force and energy). Yes, leadership is also about working out and being inspiringly fit!
7. Do not try to please everybody
That is an illusion. No one can please everybody. It is better to be disliked by some and respected by others. If you try to please everybody, no one will really like you. Or respect you.
8. Step out of the box
Society educates us so that we eventually fit certain patterns: graduating from school, getting an acceptable job that will enable us to salt some money away and buy an apartment, getting married, having children. On the contrary, leaders are people who typically change the rules, as patterns are too narrow for their personalities.
9. Stop whining and start finding solutions
Nothing is more annoying than someone who complains all the time. What kind of powerful leader does that make you? Find solutions, this is what people expect from a leader! Now, honestly, we all have problems. But some of us have learned to manage them while others haven’t, or haven’t exactly. The difference is that the former focus on finding solutions and the latter focus on feeling sorry for themselves. A true leader is always able to see the glass half full, even when the glass seems completely empty.
10. Quit finding excuses
Making excuses all the time is a serious disease that affects a large part of mankind, undermining its aura as well. We need people who get moving. No matter what excuses they might find. We are talking about people who are able to move on, despite any obstacles that may come their way. You know what? The day has 24 hours for all of us. Therefore, lack of time is nothing but a poor excuse.
The winners are those who know how to establish their priorities during these 24 hours.
“Oh, yes, I see, it’s just that I…” No. Stop it! You want to do something? Do it! End of story. Stop finding excuses! Or else forget about this article! You are the boss, you know what you should do.
The 10 keys to becoming a leader by Technology for life is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.