Leadership is, more than anything, a set of personal disciplines. After all, the most inherent meaning of leader is simply someone who goes first. Leadership is not dependent on title or rank but rather behavior. The truth is, anyone can be a leader. At its deepest root, leadership is exhibiting certain traits and skills that make others want to follow your example, generally to achieve the same results that those traits and abilities brought you. Long before leaders become leaders, they typically develop specific characteristics and skills that help them excel once they achieve a position of leadership. Here are three tips for developing leadership skills in your everyday life.
- Speak up
Any time you speak, particularly in a group setting, it puts all the attention on you. This can be a very vulnerable position to be in, which is why so many do not speak up. When you speak up, you make yourself vulnerable to criticism and possibly even attack but also change never comes without individuals standing up and speaking up. Whether it is sharing a new idea or criticizing current policies, a leader has to learn how to be at the center of controversy and manage it well.
How successful you are when you speak up is going to be mostly dependent on how well you listened before you did it. If you repeat what someone else has said, you will look like a fool. If you express the sentiments everyone else is thinking but have the tact not to say, you will look like a buffoon. If you dare to say the thing that needs to be said, but no one else wants to say, you will gain the respect of your peers and in some cases, even your superiors.
- Always have a goal to pursue
Movement is at the very heart of leadership. People can’t follow a parked car. The goal itself does not matter but having one does. Your goals can be personal, professional, or even “frivolous” as long as you are chasing hard after them. Whether it is mastering the highest level of your favorite video game or increasing sales by 30% over the next quarter, goals give you purpose, direction, and almost palpable energy that others want to feel.