How to Become a Great Leader

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Is a leader born or made?  One thing is for sure; great leaders operate in similar ways.  Here are five essential approaches that all great leaders take.

#1. Be true to yourself

If you want to inspire people, nothing beats authenticity.  Clearly communicating the values, beliefs and mode of operation that you live by and expect your team to live by is important.  More important: live by them. 

What’s more, hold yourself to account.  Accountability is important and, as a leader, you need to hold yourself account in the same way you hold your teams to account. 

#2. Understand leadership is a team sport

You can’t lead effectively without your team pulling in the same direction.  Invest in the time and attention to understand the goals and priorities of your team and help them to develop their skills and careers in the way they desire.  Make yourself approachable and available so that you can identify and resolve problems quickly.

Foster a culture of collaboration so that your team is not only able to approach you but also work effectively with each other.  Understand that when your team succeeds, you succeed.

#3. Harness the new, but don’t be blinded to the old

New technology such as new collaboration and productivity tools are great, but don’t let them distract you from what works. A recent survey by 3M found that 62% of workers prefer to work with all-paper lists. Harness what works for you and your team, rather than chasing the latest shiny unicorn. 

Understanding what people need to succeed and giving them the support and the tools they need to get the job done is a vitally important part of being a good leader.

#4. Call out disfunction quickly

It can sometimes be tempting to avoid confrontation and hope a problem goes away by itself.  However, if you don’t tackle problems they can grow into something overwhelming. 

A good leader will see the trouble looming on the horizon and act quickly to nip the problem in the bud.

#5. Invest in developing your team

Good leaders aren’t threatened when one of their team excels at something – they recognize their achievements and do everything they can to harness their talent and develop their potential. 

According to Tom Peters the greatest leaders don’t seek to create followers, they seek to empower the people in their teams to become leaders themselves.