Leadership is for everyone to learn; from bottom to top. From the start of your career, you need to have leadership skills to guide you through your business journey. Nowadays, being a leader is very important because the business environment is competitive: products and services come out in the market daily, technology has disrupted many industries and customers’ behaviour have changed; they are more intelligent and critical of products presented to them. If you do not develop your leadership potential, chances are you will be left behind and be at the far end of the race, you don’t want that, right?
There are 4 important qualities that make leaders effective.
Catalyst. Leaders see themselves as an instrument of change. They have this inner confidence that they can bring positive change to an organization, community or groups of people. this is good as long as the leader compliments confidence with action. Have this attitude, have a vision of changing something for the better wether it is in your family, work or community. It does not have to be something big, small changes when done continuously will have a big effect in the long run. In the office it can be ensuring lights are off during lunch time or coming early to work or helping some catch a deadline. No matter how small, see you self as someone who can make things better. On a bigger scale being a catalyst is leading a group towards the mission of the company, ensuring people are heading towards the right direction.
Empathy. Put yourself in the shoe of others, this maybe the best explanation of empathy. When you empathise with others you understand and connect with how they feel. this is important because as a leader you work with feelings and not just numbers and when you know how to empathise, it will be easy to understand how to communicate and approach people, thus creating a good relationship with peers. How to begin empathising?
- Listen carefully to the speaker. Pay attention to the tone and body language.
- Think before speaking and making conclusions. As much as possible be objective. This means that you do not have to jump to conclusion and making quick judgments about the person.
- Speak softly. People may hear your words but your tone sets the mood. So when speaking, listen not just to your words but also to how you say it.
Developmental Paradigm. Paradigm is how you view things, in other words, mindset. Dr. Carol Dweck, author of the best selling book MINDSET, stated that people have 2 types of mindsets: FIXED & GROWTH.
FIXED MINDSET proposes that people’s attitude, intelligence, creativity and character are innate and can’t be developed. People who think they can’t be leaders because they were not born with leadership qualities have fixed mindset. On the other hand, GROWTH MINDSET proposes that people’s abilities are made and developed.
Effective leaders have growth mindset. They have a more optimistic view compared to others. The key to having a developmental paradigm is to keep an open mind, embrace challenges and turn failure into positive experience (learning).
Humility. Finally, a leader must be humble. A good definition comes from C.S. Lewis “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Think of yourself less means putting others before ourselves. How do we do this? As leaders we need to listen before we speak, and we need to decide for the common good and not just what is good for us. In other words we must become servant leaders, we serve rather than being served.
Anyone can be a leader as long as they want. Practice these 4 qualities with the agenda of serving others.