Too often we focus on the attributes of poor leaders without considering what makes a great leader. Great leaders exhibit passion and empathy. They have a positive influence on their peers and employees. They encourage and assist. All these positive traits are built out of habitual actions.
Here are a few habits of great leaders that stand out in their fields for all the right reasons and how you can apply these to your own life to stand out in your field.
Directness should not be confused with abrasive. If you don’t speak your mind, your message can get lost in translations. The same can be said if you are hoping for a promotion. Some employers won’t even consider you unless you put your hat in the ring. You are your own best advocate, and therefore you need to advocate for yourself and voice your individual needs.
The other half of communicating effectively pertains to listening effectively. Entrepreneur and billionaire, Richard Branson, famously instructed ambitious professionals to remember to listen more than they talk. Outstanding leaders are respectful of the fact that they don’t have the only right ideas and conversation is intended to be a back and forth of ideas, not a monologue.
Educate yourself on developing trends in your field. In the technology era we live in, every area changes on a weekly if not daily basis. The only way to stay relevant while influx is to continue to push your knowledge and understanding. Read up. Take a class. Engage in discussions on how the world and your field is changing.
To position yourself as a leader, you also need to exhibit leadership skills. Encourage your peers to grow and support them in efforts to improve themselves. Great leaders have a positive influence on those around them and don’t see their peers success as a hindrance to their own.
Push past your fears.
If you never take a risk, you will never grow. Entrepreneur and television personality, Martha Stewart, says that the best advice she ever got was from her father who told her she could do anything she put her mind to. She says, “This advice instilled in me a great sense of confidence, and despite the fact that sometimes I was a little nervous, I stepped out and did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.”
Accept that sometimes you will fail.
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom. Failure is inevitable because no one and nothing is always going to go right. By accepting failure and that it’s no one’s fault but your own, you learn to take responsibility. As a leader, you are accountable not just for your personal actions, but the actions of your employees. You are responsible for their success and failures in addition to your own.
The founder, chairman, and CEO of BP Capital says that the best advice he ever got was from his grandma who told him to sit on his own bottom and take responsibility for his own failures. He says, “She always made a point of making sure I understood that on the road to success, there’s no point in blaming others when you fail.”
Also remember that while it may not work out right now, you should let it motivate you to make it work in the future.