Taking on the responsibility of a leadership position in any company can be quite daunting due to the responsibility that comes with it.
Leadership is more than just a managerial position, it is rather a role in which you have to motivate, inspire and guide your team. It is a widely discussed topic, with thousands of coaches, trainings, and guides on how to be the perfect leader. There are thousands of quotes on leadership throughout history, with teachings from leaders and historical figures guiding the leaders of the future that can still be used in today’s world.
In the post-2020 corporate world of COVID-19, among remote working and social distancing, leadership has become even more challenging. So, we thought we would take a look at the five steps you can take to expand your leadership skills and make a difference in the lives around you.
Map Out Your Educational Path
Whether you are just entering the workforce with leadership goals on your mind, or whether you are already moving up the ladder, education is going to play a large role in your career development. We highly recommend furthering your education when taking on a leadership position.
Tertiary education is key for expanding your skills and specializing for your chosen role, but it is also key for leadership development skills. Most colleges and universities offer various courses on leadership or integrate the teachings into the courses. But you can also choose to further your education by taking on an MBA or leadership course.
If you are already working full time, or do not have the time to attend a college or university, there are a number of online degrees for you to choose from. Not only can you do this in your own time and from home, but you will benefit by gaining the key skills needed to further your career.
Millions of working professionals choose to do online courses while working in order to either bag the promotion or change direction in their careers completely. It will just take a bit of dedication and hard work.
Focus On Your Soft Skill Development
Education and hard skills may be crucial, but soft skills are important as well. In a leadership position, these soft skills are absolutely vital when managing other people, their personalities, and day-to-day lives.
Soft skills include traits like empathy, teamwork, initiative, communication skills, and work ethic. These are not something you can learn at a university and usually take a bit longer to be taken up as they are actual behaviors that need to be learned.
Leadership itself can be considered a soft-skill, but as part of the leadership role, you will need to have a toolkit of other skills to manage people. Things like conflict management and motivation are key for managers and leaders to help drive their teams and manage interpersonal communication within the company.
As a leader, you will need to supervise and direct other employees but remain empathetic and grounded at the same time. It is a leader’s role to cultivate an environment where others can grow and learn while keeping the company culture on their mind.
Extend Your Network
It is important to note who you surround yourself with. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are most likely standing in the wrong room. Without stimulating, interesting and ambitious people in your closest circle, you will not be pushing to further yourself.
Some of the most successful people we know ensure that they attend meet-ups in their respective industries, or meet the leaders. Find out when authors of your favorite books are doing book signings and go to meet them. Attend talks hosted by influential minds and conferences to network with the attendees.
Having a vast network of insightful and educated people is beneficial for several reasons. It can help in identifying new job opportunities and opening your career options. Many people who start networking with higher circles do so to possibly step into a new career, or start making their name known in the new coveted position. Having direct contacts through your network will most certainly help.
You are also able to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. If your network is educated leaders in the field, you will be gaining valuable insight into current trends and the ebbs and flow of the industry.
Formal education is one thing, but what we are referring to here is something completely different. Leadership is luckily one of those topics with endless amounts of guidance, advice, and coaching. There are seminars, training, in-office trainings and coachings that you can choose from to sharpen your leadership skills. What is more, they are quite easy to find. So, if you want to extend your skill set and learn a few new tricks and knowledge, simply look out for meetings and coaches in your area.
If you don’t really feel like spending money and don’t have the time to go from work to an evening session with bad coffee, look online. There are millions of online videos of coaching and teachings from leadership coaches. Not only can you do it from the comfort of your own home, but most offer personalized services, and can contact you for further guidance if you want.
Lastly, the old fashioned book needs to have an honorable mention. Millions of books have been written on the subject of leadership and contain vital knowledge and insight on transforming yourself into a dynamic leader.
Being an exemplary leader will be a continuous life lesson. It will certainly not be a case of taking a few courses and becoming a great leader, although the courses do help. Rather, it will be a life-long dive to empower and further yourself. It will require always learning lessons and even making mistakes. Becoming the ultimate leader will include tricky employees and failing at managing some people to build up those skills while excelling at managing others.
Some of the greatest leaders in our time claim that they are still refining their craft every day and will never stop learning what it is to be a great leader. So, don’t give up, push yourself to learn something new every day of your life.