In some ways, we are constantly seeking “the best” from people. We want the best doctors, the best service at a restaurant, or even to get the best advice from friends. We don’t want people who will just tell us what to do, but people who have our best interests in mind. In this way, we are looking for great leadership.
And we all have the ability to provide leadership at some point in life, whether that is as being a parent, a friend, a spouse, or a boss. Even with all these different roles, there are often common attributes that make a great leader. Alex Lickerman (2009) offers 10 ways he believes you can become a better leader.
Being confident doesn’t mean that you have all the answers. In fact, it can mean the opposite. However, there is a big difference between saying “I don’t know” nervously and saying “I don’t know” confidently. Saying this with confidence not only communicates competence, but it also suggests that it is perfectly acceptable that you don’t have the answer to a specific question you were asked. Not knowing something doesn’t make you a bad leader. It’s allowing that lack of knowledge to diminish your confidence that does.
Be kind but firm.
Part of being a leader means that you need to be able to set boundaries. However, there is a big difference between setting boundaries in an angry and condescending way, versus gently and with compassion. When setting boundaries with the latter, people will not only respect those boundaries, but also respect you as well.
Be an expert.
As discussed before, you don’t need to know everything to be a good leader. However, it is also important to never fake knowledge. If you don’t know what you need to know, take the time to find it out. However long that might take.
Another component to good leadership is being able to listen to a range of opinions, asking questions, and challenging positions, but when the discussions are over, they are able to make a decision and move on.
Be willing to have people disagree with you.
Relating to a point discussed above, if you are able to set appropriate boundaries and take strong positions, there are bound to be some people who disagree with you. Don’t take this personally.
Know what to spend time building a consensus and when to make an executive decision.
There can sometimes be a balancing act between knowing when to have everyone involved in agreement on something and when waiting for consensus can actually lead to failure.
Have a vision.
Having a vision is a great way to excite and inspire the people who follow you to work and perform in ways that they might not have even known they could.
Care about the people you lead.
It is far more motivating to be led by someone who you know cares about you. Genuine concern for others is always perceived and appreciated.
With a leadership position often comes people who want to learn from you. Whether you realize it or not, someone is always watching you. This can be helpful to keep in mind when making decisions. Try to pick the choice that demonstrates the greatest virtue.
Fully visualize every repercussion of each of your decisions in advance.
Failures often come about by unforeseen circumstances. Make sure to give your decisions a 360 degree look of possible outcomes. The more thoroughly you do this, the more likely you can predict results and lead to positive outcomes for all.
Lickerman, A. (2009, November 23). How To Be A Leader.