There’s one main goal that all young leaders have in common: progress. They want their brands to make progress. But most of all, they want to make personal progress in their abilities as a leader.
Transformational leadership is a model focused on change and growth. The leaders inspire employees to innovate, but they also focus on personal development. They are energetic, passionate, and enthusiastic about their projects, and they also work towards expanding their own potential.
Do you show up at work and hope progress just happens as each day passes by? If you do your job well, you’ll definitely grow along the way, but leaders should also make an intentional, concerted effort to develop their skills. If you’re wondering how to be a good leader that inspires people to reach their full potential, you know there’s room for growth. Let’s see what steps forward you can take.
You know a lot about leadership. You studied hard in school and completed your share of research papers—but it’s not like you paid attention to everything that was said. Like most people, you probably missed some things. It’s time to go back to learning, but this time you’ll pay diligent attention. If a certain niche wasn’t your strength during college, that’s exactly what you should focus on. That’s how you’ll close gaps and unlock opportunities for improvement.
Coursera is a great resource for these gap areas and is extremely versatile. For example, if you’re interested in learning about different leadership styles, you could start with this Coursera course on compassionate leadership.
Take online courses, read books, explore different managerial concepts, and simply learn as much as possible! There’s something about knowledge that most of us didn’t understand while we were students: it’s practical. When you learn about social systems, human psychology, geography, and economics, you’ll use that knowledge to improve your leadership practices.
A great leader is not some superhuman being with no emotions whatsoever. On the contrary, a successful leader is empathetic and knows how to show emotion. But they also know how to control it. They can stay calm even in situations that are very stressful. The key is to know how to show emotions appropriately.
Fortunately, this is something you can practice.
- When you can feel that you’re about to lose your temper, take a deep breath and count to ten. It’s cliché but it works.
- Notice the triggers that lead to an emotional response. When you know what throws you out of balance, you’ll be better prepared to get those situations under control when they arise.
- Do you have a role model with strong emotional intelligence? This may be your mentor or advisor. Observe how they act and manage to stay calm under pressure and then apply those lessons in your own situation.
- Practice self-care to become the calm leader you know you can be. Read the latest work of a favorite author, eat healthy food, exercise regularly, and get enough rest. All of these techniques will help you keep a level head when you face stressful situations.
Great leaders work towards specific goals and know what each step forward means from a short- and long-term perspective. For example, if a leader has a goal to add 100 connections on LinkedIn this month, he or she will make decisions that support that goal. They will use the platform to send personalized messages, actively contribute to LinkedIn groups, implement analytics, and experiment with different approaches until they find one that works.
A goal-oriented mindset helps you in the decision-making process, and developing a vision of where you want to be will help you gain ground and make decisions that get you where you want to go.
One activity that can help you develop such a mindset is the game of chess. Seriously! Play chess in your free time and analyze the way you decide to make each move. Playing chess will help you see how you set goals and work towards them step by step and how you predict your opponent’s moves and adjust your decisions along the way. Your strategy in the game can help you understand how you approach real-world goals, as well how you might consider changing your strategy.
Prove Your Value
As a person, are you worth following? You can’t just show up to work and expect everyone to be impressed simply because you’re a leader. You have to prove your value so your leadership can genuinely inspire other people to do great work.
You’ll do this if you lead by example.
- Show up for your team, let them see your part of the work, and walk the walk. Your good work will motivate the entire team to be more productive and own their results.
- Make commitments to your team and stay accountable. When you break a promise or fail to achieve a goal, admit your error and find a way to repair the damage.
- Publish content. If you’re ready, you can write a book. If you’re not there yet, you can publish articles on your blog. This shows that you’ve reached a level of leadership that makes you eligible to teach and guide the development of other people—a crucial leadership skill.
Are you a great communicator? Are you spending enough time in one-on-one communication with team members? Great leaders know how to express concern and show encouragement at the right time. They don’t talk too much, but they do know how to communicate effectively. Verbal and non-verbal communication are both equally important. Make sure that the message you are sending with your body language is consistent with the message you are sending with your words.
Growth Is Never Finished
You’ll never reach a point when you can say, “Okay, now I finally know how to be a leader.” You’ll continuously get better, but you’ll still have flaws. There’s no perfect leadership style, and there’s definitely no perfect leader. That’s actually a good thing. It means that everyone has the potential to get better over time.
Young leaders may feel like they have the world at their feet. They are already more accomplished than most people their age—but success comes with responsibility. Don’t let early success detract from your commitment to self-development. That’s how you stay good and become even better at what you do.
Content written by Guest Author: Joshua Robinson
Joshua is a writer, blogger, and world traveler. Online learning and self-development are his main interests. New adventures, experiences, and friendships – that’s the perfect life that Joshua strives for.
CMOE guest authors are carefully selected industry experts, researchers, writers and editors with extensive experience and a deep passion for leadership development, human capital performance, and other specialty areas. Each guest author is uniquely selected for the topic or skills areas they are focused on. All posts are peer-reviewed by CMOE.