We have written time and time again about the importance of continuing your education once you have an active career. This is especially true if you aim to be or are already someone who is in a leadership position. Even if you are someone who considers themselves to be a natural leader, there are always areas in which you can improve yourself. Whether you need to improve your technical skills or understand how to better interact those who work beneath you, there is no person on the planet who is ambitious and doesn’t embrace the ability to continue to grow and learn as a leader.
Learn to practice discipline
The very best leader is someone who knows how to practice discipline. While it may take a while to develop this trait (both in your personal and professional lives), you will absolutely be judged by others on the type of leader you are heavily by how much discipline you show in your day to day work.
So what does it mean to display that you are a disciplined person? You have to first always meet deadlines, keep appointments and schedule meetings for the appropriate amount of time they will take. This means ending meetings when you said they would be over, even if all of the business has not been covered. Plain and simple, demonstrating discipline means that you have to be a person of your word at every turn.
Improve your ability to manage more at once
Someone with superb leadership skills knows that you have to be willing to make sacrifices to get ahead. While you should never take on more than you are capable of handling, you also shouldn’t take on less. Stepping out of your comfort zone every once in awhile to show that you are versatile and not afraid of a challenge will make you great leadership material.
Follow when necessary
Even if you have already been put into a leadership position, you won’t always be the one in charge. There will be people, sometimes subordinates, who have ideas that simply never even occurred to you. Being willing to admit when an idea is great and congratulate the person who came up with it is how a good leader should react. Showing disdain or jealousy will absolutely never get your where you want to be as far as a leadership position is concerned.
Learn situational awareness
One of the main traits that great leaders have in common is that they don’t get caught in the metaphorical weeds. A person who is true leadership material knows how to see the big picture in every situation and always can anticipate issues before they occur. On the other hand, thinking ahead is not the same as overthinking. This means that while you know what could go wrong and how you would handle any situation that is potentially bad, you don’t stress yourself or others out about it.
Empower those around you
There is nothing worse than a leader who wants all of the glory all of the time. If you cannot empower those around you to pursue their curiosities and bring you new ideas, then how in the world can you expect them to look at you as their leader? If anything, you are doing the opposite of leading them if you are not willing to listen to them.
Become a better listener
One of the main misconceptions about being a leader is that you have to be in the spotlight every second of the day. This is absolutely not true. Being open to suggestions, ideas and most importantly feedback about how you can improve can mean the difference between a mediocre leader and a great leader.
Take a course to become a better leader
If you are interested in becoming a better leader, we offer many courses that may be helpful to you at the Professional Development Center at Glendale Community College. Learn about what course would be right for you when you visit our class schedules page!