Learning how to become a leader is essential to your success. Whether you own a business, teach school, manage a small group, coach an athletic team, or are working to advance a worthwhile cause, you need to enroll others in order to achieve the success you want.
This not only requires you to hold a vision of what success is, it also requires you to practice coaching and training skills that will inspire others to want to help you reach that goal.
Because our success often requires the help of others, successful people, not surprisingly, are also successful leaders.
How to Become a Leader
Leaders know how to communicate their vision in exciting and compelling terms. They’ve mastered the skill of motivating others to jump on board with full commitment. They recognize the potential in their people, coach their team members to go above and beyond, and routinely acknowledge others’ positive contribution.
And while great leaders must demand accountability from the people they lead, they also hold themselves accountable for their contribution to the result.
So let’s take a look at some of the basics of how to become a leader or coach whom people will want to work with and follow.
1) Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the most distinguishing qualities of a great leader is their dedication to understanding themselves.
When you have a clear sense of who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, and know the impact your behavior has on others, your ability to lead others will improve. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses gives you the ability to discern when your skills will add value or not and keeps you open to delegating and listening to people with other points of view.
2) Hold Yourself Accountable
Essential to your success in leading others is a commitment to taking 100% responsibility for your own actions and results. When you consistently follow through on your own commitments, you begin to build others’ trust in your leadership. To be trusted, you must be reliable, punctual—and a person who keeps your agreements.
Do you arrive at meetings on time?
Do you deliver your part of projects completed and on deadline?
Do you abide by promises made to your team members and others?
These are the hallmarks of a leader who is responsible and consistent—versus one who is perpetually late, unprepared, emotional or continually led astray by the latest fad.
Of course, no one is perfect—including leaders. But while perfection might be desirable, consistency will be far more impactful because it builds integrity and reliability with your team. It makes you a trustworthy leader.
3) Inspire Your Team With a Clear Vision
To inspire others to work tirelessly to help accomplish your goal, you must first have a clear and compelling vision of the future.
What will you and your team ultimately achieve? By when?
What will everyone gain when the goal is reached?
Is it honorable, beneficial, ethical, and uplifting?
What’s so compelling about it?
What else will also be achieved as your team is striving for this major goal?
To get other people’s buy-in, you’ll also need to articulate who your team will become as they learn and grow on the path to achieving your vision. Your team must be able to see themselves in the future as better, smarter, stronger, more valued, and more confident.
Defining that outcome plus other benefits people will experience—is an important part of your clear and compelling vision.
4) Listen for Possibility
Once people are enrolled in the vision, a great leader will listen to his team not only to hear their thoughts and input but also to make sure they feel heard.
People want to know they make a difference and that their insights and opinions matter. When you develop your listening skills, you’ll be more present in the moment, you’ll be curious to hear other options, you’ll be able to truly hear what emerges from a discussion, and you’ll be open to a true dialogue with your team instead of simply delivering orders or explaining the game plan.
This requires a willingness to be transformed by what you hear. But more important, it requires you to shift your focus from listening for “the right way or the wrong way” to listening for what is possible. I call this “listening for possibility.”
5) Coach Others to Take on a Leadership Role
Growing a team of your own top-notch leaders simply makes your life easier. And the most useful skill for growing other leaders is coaching.
Through deep listening and skillful questioning, you can help others discover their own solutions to problems and opportunities. Instead of being the only person figuring out what to do next, when you use coaching to help others develop their own solutions, you are also helping them develop their own problem-solving skills.
To any leader who has been bombarded with the simplest and most mundane problems to solve, this idea of empowering your people with their own leadership skills will be a relief. So how can you coach your people to become leaders in their own right? Start by asking your people to correctly define the problem.
This gets them fully engaged in the process and helps them “take ownership” of the problem as one that they need to solve.
Studies show that once a problem or challenge is theirs, it will be solved more efficiently and stay solved longer if you allow your team to create the solution. You provide direction only when they have reached the limits of their experience or training. Give people the tools and information they need to solve problems—then let them stretch.
I want to leave you with a bit of homework to complete after you’re done watching this video.
Ask yourself: How can you apply these tips to your current situation to make yourself a better coach or leader? How can you use these tips to help empower others?
Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to follow up with you.
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