• How to: Develop Leadership Skills at Work

     

    The idea of leadership and that only certain people have the ability to be leaders is a concept that has been drilled into our minds since we are born.  We are taught that certain people are innately good leaders while others are meant to have more of a background role in a group or at the workplace.

     

    This is not always true, though.  Leadership is a learned skill that can and should be constantly developing through each action you take at work.  A leader is not necessarily just the person in a positon of power.  Take sports, for example.  There is the coach who is the one officially in charge, but more often than not there is a certain player who the rest of the team looks to as a leader.

     

    This occurs in the workplace, too.  Although your boss is officially in charge, that does not stop you from stepping up and taking a leadership role in your team.  Although there is no template for being a leader, there are a number of things anyone can do to become a leader in the workplace.

     

    • Lead by example – To be a leader, it is important to act as a role model and be the person who sets an example other people want to live up to. When there is a project your colleagues are balking to take on, for example, volunteer to do it.  It will speak to your work ethics and allow you to be someone who other employees strive to be.
    • Build relationships – It is important to cultivate meaningful relationships with your colleagues. If you create relationships built on trust and confidence, the people you work with will look to you as a trusted figure, someone they can seek advice from, and ultimately leader.
    • Make firm decisions – A leader must be able to make choices with confidence and stick to them.  If you waver back and forth, uncertain, that does not demonstrate the characteristics of a strong leader.  Make an informed choice and commit to it.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Don’t confuse confidence with cockiness. Even the most revered leaders do not know everything.  If you are in a situation where you are uncertain what is required or you want extra clarification, do not hesitate to ask.
    • Be open to change and growth – This is applicable to both the organization you are an employee of and to yourself as a leader. Organizations are constantly growing and changing to become more successful and, as a leader, it is important to support those initiatives.  In regard to you as a leader, there is not ever a point where you should be satisfied with your leadership abilities and cease trying to improve.  Be vigilant for ways you can continue to grow and develop as a leader.

     

    If you are struggling to find your place as a leader in the workplace, or if you are simply looking to improve your leadership skills, consider some of these suggestions.  It is possible for anyone to be a leader, it can just take practice.  Believe in yourself, try the suggestions above, and embrace your inner leader.